The Auditor General’s remarks on Gara’ad port faced criticism and sparked outrage in Puntland. The Auditor General of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Ahmed Isse Gutale, has accused the Puntland administration of auctioning off some of the facilities of the Somali forces in the Mudug region and then adding the proceeds to the initial investment in the Gara’ad port.
Mogadishu, SOMALIA. By Dalmar:
“The original financing of the Gara’ad port partly came from the sale of military camps in Mudug region, Kabida and Sinai, which the regional government of Puntland sold for nearly $20 million, and then used this funding to the Gara’ad port construction project. [However], army bases are public property, and the FGS is in charge of public property. Since part of the Gara’ad investment is from that [public] money, it is expected that part of the result belongs to the Somali people,” Ahmed Gutale said.
In other words, assets existing on two governmental levels passed down from prior administrations belong to all Somali citizens, with the FGS assuming responsibility. Gutale’s remarks sparked outrage in Puntland, which recently inaugurated the port.
Outrage in Puntland
Puntland’s Minister of Information, Mohamud Ayidi Dirir, believes the intention behind the statement was to create a crisis between Puntland and Galmudug. Instead of meddling with Puntland’s affairs, he suggested launching an investigation into land occupied by the Somali government in Mogadishu and its surroundings.
Minister Dirir accused Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his associates of seizing lands during his previous presidential term and continuing to do so now. He pointed out that even during Hassan Sheikh’s second presidency, there had been no effort to return any of the land or address its return. Mr Dirir directly appealed to the President and the Auditor General to initiate the required restitution.
The Auditor General’s statement might seek to create instability in the Mudug region and trigger the fighting between Puntland and Galmudug states after more than six years of peace. The government’s remarks are even more concerning in light of the Somali President attending a ceremony to launch the Gara’ad port project last year and endorsing it.