Puntland Government Bypasses the Constitution to Issue Fishing Licences to Foreign Companies

Fu’ad Ahmed Abshir: “Puntland Parliament has not approved fishing licences granted to foreign vessels.”

Garowe (PP News Desk) — Puntland State parliamentarians have summoned President Said Abdullahi Deni and Vice President Ahmed Elmi to answer questions about fishing licences granted to foreign companies. MPs listened to a presentation on fishing licenses issued to foreign companies by successive Puntland State administrations.

“We have at least twenty reports on vessels and officials who have issued fishing licences to foreign vessels” said one MP. “We know that people who issue fishing licences illegally. Some of the licences were granted by gangs” said another MP.

“You have told us that 1608 fishing vessels were granted fishing licences. Not a single licence was authorised by Puntland Parliament. The Fisheries Ministry is obligated to abide by article 54 which stipulates ‘Permission to benefit from the natural resources of Puntland shall be granted by the Council of Ministers and approved by the House of Representatives’” said Fu’ad Ahmed Abshir, an MP.

For the first time Puntland State legislature members exposed the the the common practice of successive Puntland governments to violate article 54 of Puntland State Constitution on national resources.

The parliamentary intervention comes in the wake of Puntland Post investigation into fishing licences issued by Puntland politicians without parliamentary oversight. Fees generated from fishing licences get embezzled by issuers.

“President Deni must publish the names of officials and gang members who issue fishing licences to foreign companies and how those companies wire money and to whom” said a journalist in Boosaaso.

President Deni might be in favour of the parliamentary scrutiny of fishing licences and fees generated and pocketed by issuers in violation of the Puntland Constitution.

Bypassing Puntland Constitution does not not only keep legislators in the dark about how fees from foreign vessels are negotiated but also how the fees finance political careers of influential Puntland politicians who benefit from weak government finances auditing and supine public.

Puntland fishermen complain of agressive foreign vessels who mistake them for pirates and open fire on them. Lack of supervision on foreign vessels promotes illegal fishing and results in depletion of marine resources. Puntland State government does not have mechanisms to investigate possible violations of fishing agreements with foreign vessels.

Puntland State legislature has exposed the extent of illegal fishing agreements signed to rob people of Puntland of their resources at a time drought is ravaging nomadic communities in Puntland State of Somalia.

© Puntland Post, 2022