On December 18th, 2019, the Office of the President of the Republic of Somaliland issued a directive that rescinded public service contracts previously awarded to private entities with immediate effect and that the government of Somaliland will take control of servicing vehicle ownership documents and plate numbers.
The directive cited the absence of Public and Private Partnership laws and framework as a reason to void these service contracts the government has previously awarded to private businesses and stated that the government is prepared to compensate after a thorough evaluation of initial investment and depreciation.
In addition to the vehicle ownership and motor vehicle plate services, President Bihi has previously re-nationalized the Berbera Oil Terminals, security, and parking services for Egal International in August 2018.
One of the services mentioned directly by the President’s directive was the contract for motor vehicle plates held by Hodan Enterprises which is owned by Mr. Mahamed Ahmed Hassan (Baarjeex) a prominent Somaliland businessman who has held this contract for decades under successive governments.
|Company Name||Registered Owner||Tax Identification|
|Hodan Enterprises||Mahamed Ahmed Hassan (Baarjeex)||100122221|
In a direct contradiction to President Bihi’s decree, government records examined by Somaliland Chronicle show that the motor vehicle license plate service contract remains with Hodan Enterprises, which has charged the public more than 2.5 million US dollars for its service since December 2019.
Payments from the Ministry of Finance to Hodan Enterprises for Motor Vehicle Plates
|Period||Amount (SL SH.)||Amount (US $|
8500 xch rate)
Ministers of Finance Development Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire and Transportation and Road Development Mr. Abdirisak Ibrahim Mohamed Farah have confirmed that Hodan Enterprises provides motor vehicle plate services to the government of Somaliland. Minister Shire would only state that the contract remains under review and is in the process of being re-nationalized, while the Minister of Transportation and Road Development said he was unfamiliar with the mechanics of this contract as he just took the helm but is aware of the fact that Hodan Enterprises is still in charge.
According to multiple sources who spoke on strict condition of anonymity, for fear of retaliation, the former Minister of Transportation and Road Development Mr. Abdillahi Abokor Osman, and possibly others, including President Bihi, have taken a stake in Hodan Enterprises to keep the lucrative contract in place. Somaliland Chronicle cannot verify these allegations.
Other government insiders point to lack of parliamentary oversight and accountability of the executive branch as well as Mr. Mohamed Baarjeeh’s prominence as a reason why President Bihi’s decree was not fully implemented.
The President’s directive to re-nationalize motor vehicle-related services and other public infrastructure, such as Berbera Oil Terminal, was lauded as a major step towards combatting rampant corruption in Somaliland’s public institutions where basic services were contracted out to private businesses with minimum oversight. It is unclear if other services that President Bihi re-nationalized in his multiple decrees remain in private hands.
Efforts to reach Mr. Mohamed Baarjeeh, the owner of Hodan Enterprises, the office of the President, and the former Minister of Transportation and Road Development, Mr. Abdillahi Abokor Osman, for comment on this contract were unsuccessful.
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