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Somalia Mobile money: A major source of funding for Al-Shabaab-Hormuud Telecom

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Sunday October 27, 2019 - 10:38:38 in Latest News by Super Admin
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    Somalia Mobile money: A major source of funding for Al-Shabaab-Hormuud Telecom

    26. There is no doubt that, on the one hand, mo-bile money services brought financial inclusion to Somali citizens across the country. On the other hand, ordinary citizens are not the sole or even major beneficiaries of Al-Barakat mobile money servic

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26. There is no doubt that, on the one hand, mo-bile money services brought financial inclusion to Somali citizens across the country. On the other hand, ordinary citizens are not the sole or even major beneficiaries of Al-Barakat mobile money services. As a matter of fact, Al-Shabaab terrorist group are the true beneficiaries of this unregulated, money-creating and terrorist-controlled ZAAD Service thus making Al-Barakat Telecoms (Telesom Company, Golis and Hormuud) the largest financiers of Al-Shabaab activities.
27. The UN Security Council Committee on Somalia and Eritrea confirms this argument. In the Security Council Committee report (S/2011/433) , Mr. Jimale is identified as one of Al-Shabaab’s chief financiers and is ideologically aligned with Al-Shabaab.
28. Al-Barakat Telecoms (aka Telesom, Hormuud and Golis) are the largest source of funding for Al-Shabaab whereas ZAAD Service is the main and most effective method in which this criminal entity transfers funds to the terrorist group and through which terrorists in turn distribute funds to their members.
29. Still exercised in Somaliland and Puntland, Al-Barakat (Telesom, Golis and Hormuud) tele-coms’ customer policy initially required owner-ship of an official identity card (ID) to use the service. Therefore, all ZAAD mobile money users across the country were subject to identification procedures that confirm their legitimacy. In other words, all three mobile money providers (Telesom, Golis and Hormuud) required that every user’s proof of identity together with a photo of the user be entered into the User Registration Server and digitally stored.
30. This procedure had several advantages. First, it protected senders from transferring money to a wrong recipient because before executing the transaction the service displayed intended recipient’s name and required the sender to con-firm that the money is to be transferred to Mr. or Ms. XYZ. For example if John Johnson wants to transfer $900 to Mr. Iceman’s ZAAD ac-count, the service would ask, "Are you sure to send $900 to Mr. Iceman?” As he confirms the transfer, Mr. Iceman will receive a text mes-sage confirming that he has received $900 from John Johnson. This allowed both authorities and providers to check the identity of any registered user every time the customer per-forms a cash-in or a cash-out thereby protect-ing the risk of the service being used for crime or misconduct behavior. Second, in the event when a caller threats you on the phone (as Al-Shabaab does to terrorize citizens), it was easy for the victim to identify the caller’s full name using his mobile phone. Third, if police confiscates the mobile phone of a suicide bomber, the confiscated mobile would lead authorities to identify every user who received from or sent money to the deceased terrorist. Even without obtaining his mobile phone, if the police identifies the face of the terrorist it could still go to Al-Barakat and ask his data including his call-logs and mobile phone transactions.
31. This identification procedure not only compromised Al-Shabaab’s anonymity but also led to the arrest of many members of the group. Reportedly, Al-Shabaab called Mr. Jimale, the dominant shareholder of all 3 Al-Barakat tele-coms who is also a prominent financier of the group, for a meeting. At the meeting, Al-Shabaab demanded that ZAAD Service identification procedures be terminated. However, it was too risky for Mr. Jimale to end the identification procedure by himself because it would have raised difficult questions from both the government and the public. Therefore, it was agreed that, "Al-Shabaab shall ban the public from using Hormuud Telecom’s ZAAD service and then Mr. Jimale shall relaunch the service but without identification procedures”.
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32. It did not take too long neither parties to implement their deceitful strategy and fool the world. Shortly after the meeting, in 2010, Al-Shabaab warned people not to use Hormuud’s ZAAD service. In the next day, Mr. Jimale terminated the service but within few days re-introduced it as EVC-Plus – another version of ZAAD Service except this time there is no any customer policy requiring ownership of an official identity card (ID) to use the service and all users are 100% anonymous. You can buy your Sim Card in the open market and start using EVC-Plus right away. Hence, while transactions may be traceable, even Hormuud itself cannot identify the actual user of its EVC-Plus. However, because Al-Shabaab is not active in these regions, Somaliland Al-Barakat (Telesom) and Puntland Al-Barakat (Golis) still use customer identification procedures.
32. This criminal enterprise, namely Al-Barakat Telecom (aka Telesom, Golis and Hormuud) not only fooled the world but also granted ruthless terrorists the power to create money out of
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33. There already exists a damning evidence re the crimes that this enterprise commits against humanity. For instance, on 17 February 2012, the UN Security Council Committee on Somalia and Eritrea has, pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, added the largest shareholder of all three sister companies (Mr. Jimale) to the list of individuals and entities subject to the travel ban, assets freeze and targeted arms embargo imposed by paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008). According to their report, the Security Council Committee identified Hormuud Telecommunications as being one of the single largest financiers of Al-Shabaab, which includes large lump-sum payments to Al-Shabaab in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and these payments to Al-Shabaab were facilitated by Jimale. The UN Security Council Committee report (S/2011/433) is available here
34. The Security Council Committee has done a wonderful job however, it is very worrying that it has not yet recognized that Mr. Jimale is also the largest shareholder of Telesom and Golis telecoms.




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