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How Somalia frustrated UN Panel of Experts while preparing report

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Federal Government of Somalia has been dragged into behind the scenes intrigues that marred preparation of the final report by Panel of Experts, Garowe Online reports.

Mandated to produce annual reports on the progress and struggles in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN Panel of Experts tabled final report after the expiry of the 5-year non-renewable term.

Correspondences exclusively obtained by Garowe Online paints a dark picture of a government fiercely resisting accountability and transparency, which at times employed uncouth tactics to frustrate the team.

One of the outgoing senior committee members for instance, was blocked from accessing Somalia, thus making his coordination efforts fragile.

"I was immensely proud of the work the group managed to produce under very difficult circumstances during this mandate," one of the group members said in the correspondences, highlighting how the FGS blocked him from traveling to Somalia since February.

"After reaching the maximum allowable of five years as a member of SEMG/POE, I will be leaving the following month," the member notes in the exclusive correspondences obtained by us.

In the report which was unveiled last week, the experts identified Al-Shabaab militants as a major threat to the stability of Somalia.

According to the team, the militants have abandoned traditional illegal charcoal trade as an income-generating activity, resorting to mafia-style taxation especially at Mogadishu port.

The Federal Government was also linked to the violation of arms embargo in the last decade, with Metals and Engineering Cooperation accused of disregarding United Nations guidelines.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council voted to renew lifting of an arms embargo on Somalia but banned the use of certain chemicals that are used in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The large import of commercial explosives, the exports noted, creates the threat of diversion for the construction of IEDs. This loophole by FGS, they added allows weapons to end up in the illicit sphere.

Also, the Federal Government was accused of collecting $5.8 million in air navigation fees by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.

The Panel of Experts also noted how Al-Shabaab planned and executed Dusit D2 Hotel in Nairobi early this year, in which over 27 people were killed. At least $50,000 was used, with holding cells discovered both in Kenya and Tanzania.

President Mohamed Farmajo's regime has often been dragged into controversy, a reason why he has been at loggerheads with the United Nations mission at times.

Suppression of the opposition, limiting freedom of media and speech, extrajudicial killings and abductions are some of the vices linked to the UN-backed federal government.

Last week, Jubaland authorities accused FGS of working secretly with Non-AMISOM Ethiopian troops to plot on how to kick out President Ahmed Madobe and his government. The matter was brought to the attention of UN special envoy James Swan.

While addressing Somalis in Nairobi on Thursday, Farmajo on his part blamed federal states of a plot to undermine his government by working with foreign states.

United Nations has often carried assessments in Somalia as a move towards the identification of gains and losses in the process of restoring peace and tranquility in the fragile nation.


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