Mogadishu (Sunatimes) Even though the activity of the
Somali pirates is on the increase, they came up ideas to launder the illegal
money they solicit as a ransom from sea vessels and foreigners they
There are beautiful buildings in Nairobi and Dubai,
better known as pirate’s buildings, belonging to the pirates. Besides
that, they run multi million businesses such as Hawala (money transfer),
telecommunication, and general business.
It has been revealed three months ago that 65% of the
shares of Iftin Money Transfer is for pirates, while the Puntland president Abdirahman
Farole owns 16%. The manager of Iftin
Express, Adan Ilkase, a Dutch – Somali who hails from the Puntland clan of
Majerinia became very suspicious when all of a sudden changed his small call
shop in Rotterdam into a multi million Dollar international business.
The Somali pirates whose administration is more or
less autonomous opened two years ago stock exchange which made possible that
business people and diaspora join and benefit from the shares they
bought. The three main bases of the pirates, Gara’ad, Hobyo, and
Harardhere are under the regions controlled by Puntland, Galmudug, and Al
Shabab respectively. Most shockingly, the head of the pirates, Mohamed
Abdi Hassan aka Afweyne admitted that they pay the administrations they are
under in either fees or shares. Mr. Afweyne did not disclose the amount
of money they pay, but a nine month independent investigation we carried out
revealed the the Harardhere pirates pay 17% of the ransom they receive to Al
Shabab, while those in Hobyo pay 5% of every ransom they get to the Galmudug
President Mohamed Ahmed Alin. Similarly, Pirates in Gara’ad pay 20% of
the ransom they get to the Puntland President Abdirahman Farole.
Galmudug President has recently appointed Col. Ahmed
Osman Kahiye aka Col. Fathi to become head of Galmudug anti piracy
forces. Surprisingly Col.Fathi is the head of the Hobyo Pirates.Similarly, President Farole
appointed Abdirizak Mohamed Mohamud as his administration’s head of anti piracy
forces, but Abdirizak is the deputy head of Gara’ad pirates. The head of
the Somali Pirates Mr. Afweyne who spoke about president Farole said “Bi’ir
Awke used to represent the puntland president and collect the president’s share
since he was his nephew, but after Bi’ir’s death president Farole appointed
Abdirizak to represent him.
Mr. Afweyne who was the founder of the Somali pirates
said “I don’t want to remain pirate. I’ve established vast businesses
such as Miraa aka Khat which I import two planes if Khat into Adado on a daily
basis. I also sell fuel vehicles”. Mr. Afweyne who recently bought
42% of shares of a telecommunication company that operates in south Somalia,
intends to hand his interest in the piracy to his Son Abdikadir. Pirates
use clan mate businessmen as custodians of their money, while enjoy in the big
towns and cities e.g. Puntland, Galmudug, Somaliland, Mogadishu, Nairobi,
Dubai, Mombasa and so on.
The funniest story I came across while the
investigation was on, was that of the ship called MV Leyla, bound for
Somaliland, which partly was carrying goods belonging to heads of Somali
Pirates. Mohamed Gafaje, Head of the Pirates in Harardhere said
“yes,whisemen like Afweyne and Garaad have goods on that ship, but they
respected our rules which clearly state that ransom has to be paid for every
ship ubducted, regardless of politics or personal interest”.
“Within two years, Somali pirates may take over major
business activities such as money transfer and telecommunication since their
strategy is to diversify their money laundering operations into the global
market”, said expert.
By Dahir Alasow
Alasow, A senior Radio and TV journalist, a leader of a press watchdog
ASOJ, the editor of waagacusub.com,member of European Journalists and
outstanding commentator with fearless check on actions of the political
groups and others players through investigative journalism, plus
defender of the public interest and voice to the voiceless through "the
truthful tip of his truth pen"