Mogadishu (HAN) October 24, 2014. Expert Analysis, Your Power & Regional Influence Magazine, opinion page By Muse Haji Mohamed “Ganjab”.
Geeska Afrika Online Archives: In 2013, the Somali federal government announced that it had launched a new Public Finance Management Policy (PFMP) to render more transparent, accurate and timely its public sector financial system, and to strengthen the delivery capacity of the government’s financial sector. A parliamentary finance committee was also established in 2014, which oversees all withdrawal transactions from the Central Bank. Additionally, a Public Procurement, Concessions and Disposal Act was passed, and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) was established to audit all government institutions. The government also began utilizing a free asset recovery system supported by the UNODC and World Bank, and it concurrently launched an anti-graft Public Awareness Campaign.
My name is Musa Haji Mohamed “Ganjab”. I am a Somali businessman and an active member of the Somali Diaspora community. I have spent all of my adult life working tirelessly to help Somalis prosper and succeed. Since 2001, I have been actively engaged as a concerned private citizen to help organize and rebuild a functioning central government in Somalia, as well as the related political and civic institutions that are vital to bringing our country out of its prolonged period of anarchy.
Eritrea urges the UN Monitering group to respect the International standards for investigation as stipulated in the Report of the Informal Working Group of the Security Council on General Issues of Sanctions (S/2006/997) that underscores the need for expert panels to rely on verified information and documents, and to ensure that their “assertions are corroborated by solid information and that their findings are substantiated by credible sources”.
I have a long and proud track record of supporting charitable organizations within Somalia and throughout the Diaspora. I have personally organized and funded the construction of schools, water systems, and places of worship. I have always lent a helping hand when underprivileged Somalis approached me with concerns about meeting their daily needs for food, clothing, housing, medicine or other critical items. I have also actively supported the creation of jobs and economic vitality in Somalia through a variety of important business ventures.
Underlying all of my activities involving Somalia has been a focus on peace, security, stability, and economic prosperity for all Somalis, without regard for clan affiliation or geographic location. All of my charitable work and my efforts to support constructive dialogue among Somalis have been conducted without any expectation on my part of financial return or reward. While I have profound respect and admiration for the people and governments around the world who have embraced Somalis in the Diaspora, I am a strong Somali nationalist, and my greatest wish is for Somalia to reemerge as one of the leading countries of Africa and the world, a model to others for peace and stability.
It goes without saying that the problems afflicting Somalia are complex and quite difficult to solve. Unfortunately, the task of addressing these problems is made exponentially more difficult by spoilers both inside and outside of Somalia who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo which cripples us as a nation. In my opinion, one such spoiler is Jarat Chopra of the United Nations Monitoring Group. Chopra leads a cabal of international meddlers in Somalia, a powerful force that seeks to keep Somalia and Somalis dependent on the financial largesse of the international community, much of which passes directly into the hands of Chopra, his compatriots, and their organizations and never reaches the intended recipients in Somalia.
Chopra has made it his occupation to fight against the development of a stable central government in Somalia. His chief weapon is the platform given to him by the United Nations to destroy the reputations of Somalia’s leaders and those who take the initiative, at great personal risk, to assist with efforts to strengthen the Somali government and the country at large. Posing as a roving forensic investigator (although he lacks meaningful credentials in this field), Chopra digs up rumor and innuendo and passes it off as actionable evidence of wrongdoing. He eschews burdens of proof, ignores generally accepted best practices of investigation and evidence gathering, and he overlooks subtlety or the complexity of the issues confronting Somalia. Chopra transforms suspicion, based on half-baked theories that he is too lazy to confirm with actual on-the-ground research, into definitive “factual findings.”
Chopra regularly resorts to character assassination to achieve his purpose of undermining the Somali government. Regrettably, because he purports to represent an institution that most around the world consider to be venerable, he succeeds in fooling many in the media and the lower echelon of the foreign service that the problems in Somalia, as serious as they may be, are far worse than they are. Those who accept his reports do so blindly because they are either too busy, too lazy, or too disinterested to probe beneath the sound bites and conclusory allegations to try to figure out what is really going on. And there are media organizations that act as his partner in crime, regurgitating the headlines that Chopra feeds them through back-door leaks, granting them what they pass off to the general public as a sensational “scoop.”
For every step forward made in Somalia by Somalis and well-meaning internationals, Chopra is hard at work to pull the country two steps backwards through his pseudo-investigations and unsubstantiated claims of corruption and all manner of other wrongdoing. In the course of his work, he deliberately tries to turn Somalis against one another, using the power of his office as a tool to divide and conquer weak Somali officials and, as some speculate, to personally enrich himself and his team. He creates a corrosive atmosphere wherein Somali government officials feel that they cannot take decisive or controversial action to move the country forward, even when they deem such action best for the country, because if they do, they will be fingered in Chopra’s next report. They become paralyzed by fear of what Chopra will write about them, based on rumor, spin and distortions of reality.
In short, my firm belief is that Chopra is a toxic force for Somalia, an enemy of the state.
As you likely know by now, Chopra recently released two reports, one in July and the other last week, that make extremely serious accusations against me:
in the form of definitive “findings” that Chopra claims to have reached. Chopra states that I have “past connections to Al-Shabaab and was involved in the diversion of official army weapons stocks.” (October Report, 68.) He contends that he “obtained evidence implicating [me] in the leakage of weaponry to Al-Shabaab and other forces beyond the army.” (October Report, 79.) He further asserts that I have “in the past acted as a logistical facilitator for Al-Shabaab.” (October Report, 79.) He adds that I was “responsible for setting up an armed security company operating in Mogadishu.” (October Report, 79.) He concludes that there has been at least one “arms transfer to Al-Shabaab involving Musa Ganjab.” (July Report, at 1.) He states that there is an “association between Al-Shabaab and Musa Ganjab.” (July Report, at 2.) He asserts that I have “historical and current links with Al-Shabaab.”
Let me be crystal clear and direct. Each and every one of these allegations is completely and categorically false. These claims are reckless, malicious, and grossly defamatory. I have never assisted Al-Shabaab in any way, shape, or form. I have never had any dealings whatsoever in the arms trade. I have never set up or operated an armed security company in Mogadishu or anywhere else.
Al-Shabaab and every kind of illegal arms trader are criminals of the highest order. They destroy lives and work against everything that I have stood for my entire life. Far from being a supporter of Al-Shabaab, I am an enemy of this despicable group. I have received dozens of death threats from Shabaab operatives over the past few years. Many of my close friends and family members have been killed or seriously injured at their hands. I was personally present in Villa Somalia in February of this year on the day when seven Shabaab terrorists entered the compound looking to kill our President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. On this horrific day, they succeeded in killing two government officials who were very close friends of mine—General Nur Shirbo and the Prime Minister’s advisor Indha Cadde.
These two individuals were great patriots of Somalia. The only reason they died that day is because they were praying in the Villa Somalia mosque on a Friday morning. They were in the right place, but at a very wrong time. I personally carried their dead bodies to a military vehicle waiting to prepare them for their funerals, which I later attended. I personally witnessed the other horrors of that day—the serious injuries suffered by those in proximity to the attackers, and the maimed, lifeless bodies of the attackers themselves, all of whom were just kids.
The notion that I would help the brutal killers of my family and friends by giving those killers the means to kill—guns and ammunition—is absurd and outrageous. But this is what Chopra accuses me of with his characteristic recklessness and irresponsibility. I have never, would never, and will never assist Shabaab or engage in any form of arms trade. Period.
The sole basis for Chopra’s claims that I have a “past association” with Shabaab, and that in the past I “acted as a logistical facilitator for Al-Shabaab,” are emails from October 8, 2010 that purport to reference a meeting I attended in Malaysia prior to October 8, 2010 in which, it is alleged, I promised to help provide medical equipment or supplies to Al Shabaab. Mr. Chopra, if you cared about discovering the truth, you would have checked your facts before reaching the absurd and illogical conclusion that you draw. I never set foot in Malaysia on or before October 8, 2010, and therefore never attended any such meeting as described in this email. It would have been very easy for you to check this fact with immigration officials in Malaysia. Had you done so, as any competent investigator would have, you would have learned that what I am saying is true. I invite you to go now to Malaysia and stay there until you find evidence linking me to supporting Al-Shabaab.
The fact of the matter is that I never attended the meeting that Chopra claims I attended, I never assisted or offered to assist anyone connected to Al-Shabaab with medical supplies or equipment or weapons or anything else.
The sole basis for Chopra’s claims that I have a current association with Al-Shabaab is two purported emails that Chopra asserts discuss a weapons shipment last October. Put simply, these emails are not real. They have been fabricated by Chopra or whomever he has helping him. Last fall, the contents of the in-box of my Hotmail email account were published on several Somali websites, after an illegal hack of my account was made by an agent in Mogadishu. According to my investigation, this agent passed the contents of my email account to Chopra, who passed them to the media. Significantly, while many of my genuine emails were printed on the Somali websites last October, the “emails” that purportedly implicate me in a Shabaab arms deal were not printed, even though these would have been, by far, more interesting than anything else in my email account. The reason that the Shabaab “emails” were not printed on the Somali websites at the time of the hack is because they did not exist then—they had not yet been fabricated by Chopra or those helping him.
A simple check of the email accounts of those who purport to have been part of the Shabaab “emails” discloses that these individuals never sent or received any such emails, further confirmation of their falsification. Moreover, if I really were involved in a major weapons transfer to Al-Shabaab, there would have to be substantial evidence of the transaction other than simply two emails. There would be other emails, phone calls, meetings, contacts with arms dealers, Shabaab operatives, evidence of financial movements and the like. None of this evidence exists, and Chopra does not cite any, because, as I have said, I have had no involvement in any arms deal.
I call on Microsoft and United States law enforcement to investigate Chopra’s “evidence” gathering methods, including, in particular, the hack of my Microsoft email account, which assisted Chopra in creating his false narrative about me. I call on the United Nations to launch an investigation of Chopra as well. He is an embarrassment to that institution, and he undermines the good work that other branches of the institution do in Somalia and elsewhere around the world.
In the absence of any real evidence to support his conclusions that I have associations with Shabaab, medical supplies, and arms deals, it is wrong for Chopra to draw such conclusions and present them in his public writings and “private” reports that he makes public by leaking to the media. It is obvious that Chopra has targeted me because of the assistance that I provided last year to the investigative team hired by the Somali government to review the allegations in Chopra’s 2013 report. This investigative team, with my support, concluded that Chopra conducted an incompetent and unprofessional investigation of Somalia’s Central Bank and Ministry of Finance in 2013, and that his findings of corruption were deeply flawed and entirely unreliable.
Chopra is also targeting me because of other efforts that I have made as a Somali businessman and private citizen to help the Somali government develop and to grow the economy of Somalia. By attacking me, Chopra attacks President Hassan Sheikh, the Somali government as a whole, and everyone like me who is trying to take an active role in rebuilding Somalia from within. Who would want to undertake these sorts of efforts, at great personal risk and expense, knowing that Chopra is lurking behind every corner trying to stop you?
I, for one, will not be discouraged by this unfortunate episode. I will continue to fight for what I know is right. I will stay engaged with Somalia to help my brothers and sisters prosper and succeed on their own terms. I will continue, as I have done in the past, to help Somalis charitably, to help strengthen central government institutions, and to help grow the business community. Muse Haji Mohamed “Ganjab” – firstname.lastname@example.org
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