MOGADISHU—As Somalia is gearing up for the exploration of oil and gas, a major scandal is reported in Somalia’s’ oil exploration efforts.
According to sources, Mr Basil Shiblaq (pictured above)– a British businessman is reported to have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of kickbacks to Somali government officials to secure lucrative oil and gas exploration in Somalia. Documents obtained from a reliable source indicated Mr Basil – a British- Arab businessman registered a new company with the name Soma 5 in London UK. The company in its website states that it mainly works in Somalia’s oil and gas.
The company which was registered on the eve of Africa oil summit in London in mid 2023 is listed as a private company under the name of Mr Sami William Frederick Michl, a Venezuelan national with Germany passport as a director and a Somali-American national.
Mr Basil – the mastermind of the initiative has also been trying hard to conceal his name to avoid any suspicious since he was accused of carrying out shady business and thanks to the Venezuelan businessman whose name appears publicly.
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The company which is now listed in the British government official website and is based in Shelton street in London was incorporated late July 2023, the same time of the oil conference and is now classified as oil exploration company in Somalia.
Somali government official clued in on the matter said its clear indication that Mr basil Shiblaq conduct constitute corruption.
“Mr Basil is widely known in Somalia for his dirty activities in oil and Gas industry and we will do whatever it takes to expose this exploitation of our natural resources and I urge Somalia’s’ parliament leadership to bring this matter to the house and investigate,” the official said on anonymity.
Mr Basil Shiblaq who is widely known for his close ties with Venezuelan government and has been on the limelight from 2021 when he struck a deal with the government of Venezuelan despite US sanction designed to target Maduro’s regime.
The former investment banker who then signed the mining deal with the right-hand man of Maduro, Mr Carlos Osorio in Caracas has over the years been involved in Somalia’s’ natural resources exploration and he is now believed to have partnered with Mr Sam William to invest the mega project which could coast millions of dollars if granted.
It’s not the first time the British-Arab businessman is accused of such business. In 2015, Mr Basil was previously investigated by the British Serious fraud office for his involvement in corruption and as a result avoids any company under his name.President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud government has recently been intolerant on corruption cases as the prosecution of senior government officials is currently underway but it’s not clear how he’s going to react on this.