Wednesday, 25 November 2009

DAILY NATIONNews News Kenya ‘neglected Somalia’s assets’

By SAM KIPLAGAT Posted Wednesday, November 25 2009 at 21:40

Somalia’s Foreign Affairs minister Ali Ahmed Jama on Wednesday accused Kenya of failing to safeguard Somali property on its soil.

Citing the sale of the Somali ambassador’s residence, Mr Jama said Kenya had an obligation to protect its assets following that country’s collapse.

A former Somali ambassador sold the Spring Valley, Nairobi property to Suleman Rahemtulla Omar and Zarina Suleman Omar for Sh28.5 million. Mr Jama said Somalia bought the property in 1972 and renovated it into an “executive building” for its envoy.

Mohamed Siad Barre’s government was toppled on January 25, 1991 and besides numerous lives, Somalia also lost properties in and out of the country, Mr Jama said.

After the collapse, the embassy in Nairobi moved from its city centre offices to the Spring Valley property. Mr Musa Hersi Fahiye and Mr Mohamed Omar were the first counsellor and attaché, respectively.

In 1995, Mr Jama said, the two officials were evicted by people claiming to have bought the residence. He said the sale was illegal and the Somali government has gone to court to evict the buyers. The suit also wants all movable and immovable assets to be accounted for and payment to be made for damages as a result of trespass.

Mr Jama denied that the sale proceeds were handed over to the government of Somalia as claimed. Asked why the ambassador who allegedly sold the property was not being pursued, Mr Jama said he had sought asylum in the UK. “He is enjoying asylum wherever he is but he will be arrested and charged if he steps on Somali soil,” he said.

The Somalis have also sued Kenya’s Attorney General, the Commissioner of Lands and Registrar of Titles. The hearing continues on Thursday.

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