(Press Release): REPORT ON THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONS INITIAL FINDINGS IN REGARDS SEMG ALLEGATIONS

 

Mogadisho, November 19, 2015——Mogadishu.

On the 4th of September, 2015 H.E Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia appointed an independent Committee of five to investigate the allegations that UNSEMG levied against the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

The UNSEMG stated in their report that the Ministry misappropriated the Capacity Building Agreement it signed with Soma Oil in April 2014. The committee was mandated to conduct an investigation into the allegations, submit a report based on their findings and provide recommendations.

After the committee conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included interviewing persons involved in the capacity building agreement; they released their findings in a detailed report.

In the report, the committee stated as part of their findings, that capacity building support provided by an international company is normal practice. The committee also found no evidence that the Ministry and the Soma Oil reached a deal on a ‘quid pro quo’ basis as previously claimed by UNSEMG. Furthermore, the committee elaborated by stating that the Ministry acted in good faith by requesting the capacity building arrangement and that there was no favoritism provided to Soma. The intention behind the capacity building request was to provide incentives, in order to recruit or retain competent and capable employees and experts. Additionally, the committee also found no evidence that the ministry revised its “Production Sharing Agreement” to favor Soma Oil, because the ministry is currently preparing this agreement along with the pertinent rules and regulations.

In regards to granting to Soma a new ‘Evaluation Extension Area’ the committee found that this was not envisaged in the original agreement, the Committee was also unable to find evidence to substantiate this claim and neither side confirmed it.

In addition, the committee also looked into the data room allegations made by SEMG, the committee accounted for all the funds paid by SOMA Oil in the accounts of the government and the data room is currently under construction.

The Ministry never hired any personnel without an agreement or contract. But, small amounts of the funds were used in a manner not conforming to the provisions of the capacity building agreement. As a result, the committee recommended that disciplinary action must be taken against any of those involved and the accounting and finances department must be re-structured.
The committee also recommended that the Ministry expedite the legal framework and the implementation of the Somali Petroleum Law. Which can be achieved by, establishing the Somali Petroleum Corporation, finalizing the draft PSA, Establishing the Somali Petroleum Authority and Finalizing the draft Resource Sharing Agreement between the Federal Government and Member States.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the FGS fully accepts the committee’s findings and will adhere to the recommendations outlined in the report. The Ministry would like to reiterate, once again, its commitment to conducting all their activities in a transplant and accountable manner.

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