EXCLUSIVE: The SOMA Oil and Gas Scandal
Mogadishu, Somalia (SOMALI AGENDA) – SOMALI AGENDA has received copies of the latest report by the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group and an assorted documents detailing what the United Nations Monitors call “a serious conflict of interest” in the relationship between SOMA Oil and Gas Company and the country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. The UN Monitors accuse SOMA Oil & Gas Co. of regularly paying key members at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in return for the latter providing protections against scrutiny by other Somali government bodies.
The United Nations Monitors effectively calls for a moratorium on oil and gas explorations in Somalia. The United Nations Monitors are controversial in Somalia and observers accuse the UN group of pursuing a witch hunt against individuals in South and Central Somalia. They accuse the UN monitors of overstepping their mandate by blackmailing government officials and threatening the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The former head of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group Matthew Bryden is considered an active campaigner for the secession of Somalia’s separatist region of Somaliland. This year, a top Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group Member Dinesh Mahtani was fired by the United Nations after it was discovered that he was using his position to push for a regime change in Eritrea.