Somali Auditor General declares the oil agreement signed by the Ministry of Petrolium as unlawful and calls for investigation into the deal with the U.S company
Somali Auditor General said it has faulted the purported oil deal signed by the Minister for Petroleum with a US based firm on the exploration of hydrocarbon in the offshore of the country. In a statement, the Auditor General said the oil deal signed by the ministry of Petroleum was not grounded on lawfu bases and has declared the deal reached with the Texas based company as unlawful and added that the agreement violated the constitutional amendment and poses danger to the Somali resources. The agency further said that that it has filed a complaints regarding the agreement with the Attorney General and asked the ministry of Internal Affairs to launch investigation into the matter. "The oil ministry had signed an “unlawful agreement and it violates the constitutional amendment and are a risk to the Somali resources and the coming generation” said the Auditor General. The Auditor General also asked Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to suspend the individuals who participated or were involved in signing the agreement with the Coastline Exploration Ltd. "The Office also submitted a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies, to ascertain and determine if there were any fraudulent activities affecting the signing of the illegal agreement involving Coastline Exploration. Ltd., in accordance with the laws of our country, US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other international laws” reads the statement in part. Somalia's Presidential Communication director Abdirashid Hashi has since refuted reports linking President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of involvement in the oil deal signed by the Ministry of Petroleum with a US based firm on exploration of hydrocarbon. In an interview with VOA Somali, Mr. Hashi said that the President was not aware of the oil deal reached by the Ministry of Petroleum with the US company and that he has not facilitated in any way the signing of the deal . " The President does not have knowledge about the deal and when it was signed.The ministry only wrote the statement on penning of the deal on his Twitter handle and did not provide or submit as a normal government working system an official document to that effect" said Abdirashid. When asked if the deal was there before and the President backtracked from his earlier stand on the deal, Mr. Hashi said that the president did not neither know from the outset nor facilitated its signing and challenged the Ministry to provide a evidence that the President was involved in the penning of the deal. Speaking to VOA Somali, the minister confirmed the agreement was signed on February 15 and said the 7 oil blocks mentioned in the statement are located in Galmudug, Southwest and Jubaland. He also disclosed that $7 million signing on fee will be deposited into the government accounts within a month. President Farmajo in a statement on Saturday evening rubbished claims by the ministry that he had facilitated the new oil deal and said that the Minister did not neither notify nor consulted with him in the inking of the agreement with the company and further reiterated that the agreement cannot be implemented or enforced. The President declared the agreement illegal and null and void saying it contradicts an earlier presidential decree banning government institutions from signing or entering into agreement with Foreign countries until elections are completed and a new government is in place. "The Presidency FGS hereby declares nullification of Petroleum pact signed by the Minister on behalf of FGS. The deal contravenes Presidential Decree 7/8/2021 which bans the inking of deals during elections so as to protect public resources from exploitation during the elections."said the President. Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble also weighed into the matter, saying the agreement reached by the Ministry of Petrolium with the Oil Company in US as illegal and did not go through the legal procedures and threatened to take legal actions against the involved parties. "The agreement that Minister of Petroleum reached with Oil Companies to explore for hydrocarbons offshore Somalia is illegal & didn’t go through legal procedures & it is not validated, Prime Minister’s Office said. “The PM will take action to respond this unlawful step,” read the statement. Somalia's Minister of Petroleum Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed had announced that it has signed 7 production sharing agreement with coastal exploration limited to launch exploration for hydrocarbon offshore and thanked the President for facilitating the agreement. "We are pleased to announce that we have signed 7 Production Sharing Agreements with COASTLINE EXPLORATION LTD. It is a victory for the Somali people. I thank the President of FGS for supporting the process and encouraging us to complete this task" said the Ministry. According to a background check did by Dalsan, Coastline Exploration Ltd is an oil & energy company based out of 4300 State Highway 119 S, Yorktown, Texas, United States and was founded in 2018. The firm relocated to Texas US after a lawsuit was filed against them in the United Kingdom and has no prior experience of working in the hydrocarbon industry.