MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia released on Thursday $9.6 million seized from a civilian aircraft from the United Arab Emirates at Mogadishu airport in 2018 ahead of a visit by the outgoing Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to Abu Dhabi, the first since a new president had been anointed this week.
“Federal government of Somalia officially transferred to the United Arab Emirates $9.6 million which was earlier seized. The Prime Minister ordered in January this year to release the money that was confiscated from the UAE in 2018,” the Premier’s office said in a statement.
The money was handed over to the UAE ambassador to Somalia in an event held in Mogadishu on Thursday after a court in Mogadishu bolstered the Prime Minister’s order.
Abu Dhabi said in 2018 it was sending the money to the Somali army to fund its operations against Al-Qaeda-linked militant group and members of the country’s political stakeholders later said a rivalry between Arab Gulf nations appeared to lie behind the incident. Somalia’s outgoing administration sided with Qatar in a dispute with other Gulf nations.
In January, Roble apologized to Abu Dhabi for the seizure of cash and ordered its immediate release, in an effort to mend strained relations and restore diplomatic ties following years of hiatus. read more
Former president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo rebuked the decision by his Prime Minister, adding tinder to an already escalating power fight and instructed the Central Bank governor to ignore the order. Banadir regional court also dealt blow to the Premier’s decision by ruling that the cash remain in the hands of Somali authorities until further notice.
UAE donation to Somalia drought relief
In response to the decision by Somali government, the United Arab Emirates donated 35 million Dirhams (about $9.5 million) for drought relief in Somalia, in what appears to be an allocation of money released by Somali authorities for humanitarian operations.
Quick trip to Abu Dhabi
Shortly after lifting suspension on seized UAE cash, Somali outgoing Prime Minister traveled to Abu Dhabi to extend his government’s condolences to Emirati authorities over the death of the Arab country’s President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“Prime Minister of FGS Mohamed Hussein Roble has today departed for the United Arab Emirates to offer condolences over the death … of late UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” his offic said.
“The Premier will deliver a message of congratulations and greetings from the President of the Republic of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to the new President of the United Arab Emirates,” it added.
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