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Government rubbishes claims PM met EU officials over frustration on fighting graft

Storyline:National News
Prime Minister Hassan Khaire following proceedings during his approval by Parliament March 1, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The government has dismissed reports that Prime Minister Hassan Khaire held a secret meeting in Hargeisa with European Union envoys where he expressed his frustration in fighting corruption which is being perpetrated by private companies.

In a statement Monday, Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman rubbished what he termed as wild allegations by the Indian Ocean Newsletter noting that at no time did the PM meet with the said officials.

“The Federal Government makes it clear that no meeting took place discussing the reputation and honour of the persons mentioned above,” the minister said.

The newsletter published by Indigo Publications under the African Intelligence banner said in its July 21, 2017 edition that the PM held closed door meeting with officials from Norway, Britain and the European Union where the Prime Minister briefed them of his frustrations in dealing with telecommunication companies and banks in the country.

“In a meeting in early July with officials from Britain, Norway and the European Union in Hargeisa, Khaire admitted he found it highly complicated to fight against corruption and improve the country’s tax receipts. He pointed the finger at certain local businessmen who included Ahmed Mohamed Yusuf, boss of the Hormuud telecommunications; Mohamed Yusuf Ahmed Alore, chief of Salaam African Bank, and Abdirashid Duale, manager of Dahabshiil,” the publication said.

The Prime Minister, the newsletter said ‘felt they (the businessmen) were applying a brake to moves to beef up the government’s capacity because doing so would make the tax system more efficient.’

But the government has termed the report as misleading and aimed at creating differences between the Federal Government and the private sector which it says has contributed immensely in national development.

“The Federal Government is really concerned with this article meant to smear the good relationship between the government and the Somali traders. The Federal Government makes it clear that the Somali traders play a huge role in government efforts to bring back security, safety and progress in the country,” Osman said.

The government is committed to promoting free speech, the minister said but ‘warned against spreading baseless information’.