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Ministry of Information Spends 600,000 US Dollars to Fix a Decade Old Radio Station

According to a contract signed by the Minister of Information, Culture and National Guidance, Mr. Saleban Ali Kore, the Ministry will pay Gorof Procurement and Logistics company a sum of 600,000 US dollars to fix a large radio station that the Ministry has purchased and inaugurated in October 2012. The radio station, which has been out of service for a very long time, is manufactured and installed by the Chinese government-owned Beijing Science & Technology Co., Ltd. In addition, there is no evidence of the 600,000 US dollar repair contract going through a public bid by the National Tender Board. 

According to sources familiar with the defunct radio station, at its inception a decade ago, the government balked at the price tag, as well as the complex specifications put forward by the manufacturer BBEF and opted out of major design elements, including the placement of antenna array at the northern outskirts of Hargeisa. Sources add that the contract with BBEF did not include support, training, or skills transfer to the Ministry’s technical staff to maintain the radio station.

Sources add that the radio station functioned on and off for a while before going offline few years ago, and multiple attempts to restart it were unsuccessful. On December 2022, the Ministry of Information, Culture, and National Guidance paid the original manufacturer Beijing Science & Technology Co., Ltd [BBEF] 62,000 US dollars to fix the radio station. It is unclear why the manufacturer has not succeeded in restarting the radio station.

Besides complexity and lack of basic know-how to maintain the radio station, sources familiar with this project stated that the shortwave transmitter Somaliland purchased from BBEF is a high-powered liquid-cooled system, and the cost of running it became an issue in terms of massive fuel consumption and monthly trips to Ethiopia to import the cooling liquid for the power-hungry system.

There is not much to go on Gorof Procurement and Logistics company, the company the Ministry of Information, Culture and National Guidance awarded the contract, and there is no indication that it has done any prior business with the government of Somaliland or if it possesses the technical know-how to restart the decade-old radio station.

Despite billing the government for 50% of the contract, Gorof Procurement and Logistics CEO Mr. Abdikarim Mohamoud Diriye did not answer questions about the contract, particularly the company’s technical capacity. Mr. Diriye stated the project is still at a very early stage and there isn’t much to share at the moment. When confronted with the $300,000 invoice he billed the government, Mr. Diriye pointed to a confidentiality clause in the contract and directed all questions to the Ministry of Information.

The Unusual contract stipulates that it supersedes and nullifies a prior agreement to purchase a 50kw solid state radio station and re-payment of 96,000 US dollars borrowed from the Central Bank for a study of the now-aborted project to procure a new radio station. The contract does not state who conducted the 96,000 US dollar study and whether Gorof Procurement and Logistics were awarded the contract to buy the 50kw radio station, and if any funds were disbursed for this reason.

A cursory check of the parts list in the contract totaling 265,500 US dollars shows the items are available for much less than the astronomical figures the Ministry and Gorof Procurement and Logistics company agreed. For example, the High-Frequency Metal Ceramic Vacuum Tube Amplifier Triode model #4CV100000C listed in the contract for 55,600 US dollars is available on Alibaba for less than a thousand dollars. 

Item Name/ModelGorof/Ministry of
Information Price List
Market Price
100kW PAQt Tube Model # 4CV100000C$55,600.00$850.00
Water Pump Model # GZ50-32 160/2.2$19,600.00$591.00
Audio Processor Model # ORBAN 9300$18,400.00$5,595.00

Despite multiple claims by the Somaliland government, and particularly President Bihi, that all government contracts with a price tag of more than 5000 US dollars go through the National Tender Board, there are many instances where lucrative contracts were awarded to private entities and occasionally retroactive permission was sought from the National Tender Board.

President Bihi who ran on an anti-corruption platform has not succeeded in curbing rampant corruption and at times failed to re-nationalize public services contracted out to private businesses.

Minister of Information, Culture and National Guidance Mr. Saleban Ali Kore did not respond to repeated queries about this contract.

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