Sources: Saudi police once sought arrest warrant for Somali diplomat over alleged human smuggling
Despite assertions by Saudi authorities that the diplomat might been implicated in the case, they have not released any details of such a probe.
By Jeff Mwaura,
NAIROBI – Saudi Arabia police have once requested an arrest warrant for a Somali diplomat accused of having been involved in a human trafficking scheme in the kingdom last year, sources in Somalia have just revealed.
According to officials privy with the matter, Siyad Mohamud Shire, the Somali consular at the country’s embassy in Jeddah was allegedly accused by the police investigators of having links with human smuggling rings that engaged in the illegal transportation of people from Somalia into Saudi Arabia.
Despite assertions by Saudi authorities that the diplomat might been implicated in the case, they have not released any details of such a probe, two Somali officials who asked not to be identified told Alleastafrica by phone from Mogadishu.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shire who had previously held a similar post at the Somali embassy in Nairobi has subsequently denied the accusations as ‘baseless’ has survived a potential issuance of his arrest warrant by the Saudi’s high court, thanks to protests by his government which termed the allegation as ‘fabrications’, prompting Saudi government’s intervention in the matter.
Saudi police have since dropped the case altogether.
However, the diplomat who by then travelled to Mogadishu received an immediate job transfer to the Somali capital, having been appointed as the chief of the presidential protocol. a move seen by officials as a ‘ short break’ from the weeks-long arrest warrant sage.
Nevertheless, his new position hasn’t lasted longer for Mr. Shire who has since resigned from position which he just held for over a month amid criticism over his performance and experience by his then boss Abukar Dahir Osman, the former chief of staff and the current Somali ambassador to the United Nations has since returned to Saudi Arabia and reclaimed his old position, officials said.
In recent months, officials at Somalia’s consulate in Saudi Arabia have been facing accusation over their failure to submit financial report on the actual internal and external revenue received, raising concerns of possible corruption activities, according to Somali diplomatic sources in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, things have turned well for Mr. Shire who submitted a formal application seeking a monthly financial budget from the finance ministry to the embassy in Jeddah, one of the two Somali embassies that’d supposedly generate a significant income, given the large number of Somali it serves in Saudi Arabia on daily basis.
The application immediately reviewed by the then finance minister has since been rejected, with the minister had instead demanded from Mr. Shire’s consulate to submit a ‘comprehensive’ financial report.
At one point, Somalia’s former foreign minister Abdirahman Dualeh had also warned Mr. Shire that he was running out of patience for his office’s failure in reporting revenue, something that hasn’t gone down well for the diplomat who was reportedly enjoying support by some of the country’s top leaders with whom he maintained close relations to maintain his position, irrespective of the fuss by his superiors sources said, noting that unnecessary leaves and travels by the consular who faced questions over his regular trips and overstays in Mogadishu have prompted the foreign ministry to issue a new strict rules on travels by diplomats.
Facing pressure from the government , the foreign minister has since ordered all of the country’s diplomats at the overseas missions to seek approval from the ministry prior to their trips to overseas on each occasion in an attempt to limit their travels that frustrated officials and leaders.
In 2014, the arrest of Mr. Shire, the then political consular of the Somalia embassy in Nairobi was at the centre of a diplomatic row between Kenyan and Somali governments.
However, Kenyan police said Mr Shire did not have proper documents.
The arrest which occurred during a security swoop in Nairobi had prompted Somalia to recall its ambassador to Kenya, weeks before the two countries ended their dispute.
(Additional reporting and editing by Timothi Njoroge in Nairobi, Kenya)