Mogadishu (Sunatimes) The UAE Central Bank
has launched on Wednesday June 19 an investigation against AMAL EXPRESS, one of
the largest Somali money transfer companies.
Well informed sources has revealed to waagacusub.com that a team of UAE Central Bank investigators
has visited the headquarters of AMAL EXPRESS in Dubai to conduct a preliminary
examination of this company’s records and operations. After this, the investigation
will move to the headquarters of the Central Bank in the capital Abu Dhabi,
where senior AMAL EXPRESS officials have been summoned to appear in front of
Central Bank officials to explain the conduct and operation of their company.
The investigation is centred on complaints
received by the Central Bank from a number of AMAL EXPRESS customers whose accounts
have been frozen and their money has been withheld without any legal
justification by the company. However waagacusub.com understands that the investigation is not
limited to those complaints but will venture into other areas and aspects of
the company’s operations particularly deposit accounts allegedly opened by the
company for its customers thereby operating as a Bank without having obtained a
Banking Licence from the Central Bank.
It is understood that the Central Bank has been
alerted and became aware of the existence of those deposit accounts only now
following the complaints it received from aggrieved AMAL EXPRESS customers
whose accounts have been frozen.
It is also understood that AMAL EXPRESS
officials have denied the existence of these deposit accounts, which experts
conservatively estimate to hold over 200 million dollars, while responding to
questions posed by the Central Bank officials. This puts in serious doubt the
security of deposits of tens of thousands of AMAL EXPRESS customers who trusted
the company with their lifetime savings.
If AMAL EXPRESS is proven to have
contravened the laws of the UAE by accepting deposits and operating as a Bank,
it could face severe penalties that range from hefty fines to licence
suspension. Either way, AMAL EXPRESS customers particularly shareholders and
those who maintain accounts with the company are likely to face severe
financial hardship in the coming weeks and months with the possibility of the
Central Bank freezing the company’s operations in the UAE, or at minimum
curtailing them to bring them in line with the UAE laws.
No one is certain about how long this
investigation will continue, how it will pan out and what sanctions, if any,
will be imposed on AMAL EXPRESS.
Waagacusub.comcontacted the CEO of AMAL EXPRESS Mr Ahmed Warsame in Dubai for information and
clarification but he refused to take our calls. As usual we will observe our
duty by keeping you posted on the developments of this sensitive case.