On the 13th of December, the Banadir Regional Court imposed a travel ban on a prominent confidant of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after funds from Chinese Embassy went missing, documents revealed.
This travel restriction was issued concerning the disappearance of a substantial sum of $US180,000, a donation from the Chinese Embassy in Mogadishu.
The individual targeted by the court’s travel restrictions is Bashir Moallim Ali Hassan, holding the position of Director General at the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation of the Federal Government of Somalia.
According to court documents obtained by our reporters, the funds from the Chinese Embassy were transferred in cash through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subsequently handed over to Bashir Moallim Ali Hassan.
Although the purpose of the funding was never officially disclosed, recent allegations suggest that the money has gone missing.
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The court, basing its decision on “prima facie evidence,” invoked Article 55 (1), (2), and (3) of the penal code to impose travel restrictions on Bashir Moallim Ali Hassan during the investigation.
The court’s letter stated, “The evidence presented to the court shows preliminary suspicion, which the court has deemed sufficient to warrant restrictions.”
Ali Sheikh Adan Yusuf, a judge at the Banadir Regional Court, who endorsed the order, confirmed that the court had instructed authorities at Mogadishu airport and immigration to prevent Bashir Moallim Ali Hassan from leaving the country due to credible reports of his intention to do so.
“We instructed the immigration and the airport authorities to intercept this individual if he attempts to exit the country,” said Ali Sheikh Adan Yusuf.
However, the situation is complicated by the fact that Bashir Moallim Ali Hassan is a senior ally of the president, introducing potential risks associated with intervening in such high-profile cases.
Judge Ali Sheikh Adan Yusuf chose not to delve into these sensitive challenges, avoiding any discussions that might involve the president.
Bashir, a prominent member of President Mohamud’s Union for Peace and Development (UPD), played a significant role in the violence that erupted in Mogadishu in April 2021. During the clashes between armed opposition forces and President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s army, hundreds were displaced.
Former associates assert that, in recognition of his contributions to Mohamud’s campaign, Bashir was appointed as the Director General of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation after Mohamud’s re-election in May 2022.
Efforts to obtain comments from Villa Somalia regarding Bashir Moallim Ali Hassan were met with silence. Similarly, Bashir himself did not respond to inquiries seeking clarification.
However, when questioned about the funds provided by the Chinese Embassy and the ministry’s awareness of it, Fardowsa Osman Egal, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, cited the ongoing travel restriction, abstaining from commenting on the matter.
The Chinese Embassy officials were not available for comment upon the publication of this article.