Revealed:Soma Oil and Gas funds request letter from former petroleum minister

Former Somali petroleum minister is said to have written to the top management of Soma Oil and Gas for financial support while in office for projects that was never implemented.

According to the copy of the letter received by Financial Times Newspaper, the company agreed to pay over 580,000 US dollars for what is described as salaries of individuals contracted to work for the ministry.

U.N. sanctions experts have last week accused British company Soma Oil and Gas of making large payments to Somalia’s oil ministry that created a “serious conflict of interest,” some of which appeared to have been used to pay off senior officials.

In a report to a U.N. Security Council committee, the experts said Soma paid nearly $600,000 as part of efforts to protect and expand an energy exploration contract it signed with the ministry in 2013.

According to a confidential report compiled by the experts on the U.N. Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group, Soma also paid $495,000 to a lawyer who was advising the Somali government when it was negotiating a contract with the company.

The eight-member panel of investigators compiled the 28-page report monitors compliance with U.N. sanctions.

The U.N. Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group which also revealed serious corruption allegations on top Somali officials before also said the evidence it collected demonstrated that the Soma oil and gas payments “created a serious conflict of interest, in a number of cases appearing to fund systematic payoffs to senior ministerial officials”.

The UN investigators also said some of the civil servants on Soma’s payroll “occupy positions in which they routinely take decisions directly bearing on the company’s financial interests in Somalia” and as such had “a clear conflict of interest”.