Somalia presidential candidate pledges to drop maritime case after fraud charge


A presidential candidate in the Somalia elections, who has been charged with fraud in Kenya, is pleading with the High Court in Nairobi to order the release of his passport so that he can go to Mogadishu and campaign.

Mr Mohamed Yassin Ismael, 71, who has a pending Sh4 million fraud case before the Makadara law courts urged Justice Grace Nzioka to direct a court deputy registrar to give him his passport since the suit has been settled.

Mr Ismael is a citizen of Djibouti, and has eight children with his Kenyan wife, Ms Sahara Yassin Mohamed. They have been married since 2003.

Lawyer John Khaminwa, who is defending Mr Ismael, urged the court to dispose of the case expeditiously since time was of the essence because his competitors in the hotly contested Somali presidential race are busy soliciting votes.

“The presidential hopeful has asked me to inform this court that once he clinches Somalia’s top seat, he will root for the country to become a member of the East African Community,” Dr Khaminwa told the judge.

He added that the petitioner has also promised not to pursue the Kenya/Somalia maritime boundary dispute, thus resolving the standoff over the waters in the Indian Ocean.

Dr Khaminwa said Mr Ismael “is being subjected to the rigorous criminal justice system in the Makadara case despite the parties having opted for an out of court settlement”.

Buy a house

The veteran advocate told the judge the money that is the subject of the case before the courts arises from a civil debt where Mr Ismael was advanced $40,000 (Sh4 million) by a trader, Mr Guleed Kuno Mursai to buy a house.

Justice Nzioka heard that Mr Ismael has 10 acres in Syokimau, Machakos County, valued at more than Sh800 million, and therefore, the civil debt was taken care of.

The judge heard that despite the parties having settled the matter, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji had declined to consent to the withdrawal of the case.

“The dispute resolution was brokered by Somali elders and the mode of payment agreed upon, but the suit has been converted to a criminal dispute for ulterior motives,” Dr Khaminwa states in the court papers.

Read: Somalia’s elections: Five things you should know

The veteran lawyer added: “The complainant conscientiously agreed to the withdrawal of the complaint against Ismael.”

The judge was prevailed upon to determine the matter since “Ismael seeks to participate in the Somalian presidential elections slated for May 20.”

Presidential polls slated for May 20, 2022

In the case, Mr Ismael has named the DPP, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the National Police Service (NPS), the Attorney General and the Public Service Commission (PSC) as respondents.

“Ismael be allowed to obtain his passport confiscated by the respondents to enable him to urgently travel to Turkey for medication and to participate in the presidential polls slated for May 20, 2022,” urged Dr Khaminwa.

Further the petitioner is urging the court to mark the case pending, before the Makadara Law Courts mark it as withdrawn.

The judge heard that the respondents were allegedly colluding with others to politically frustrate the candidature of the petitioner.

The case did not, however, proceed since the state prosecutor in the case had joined other prosecutors for an internal event at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A circular from a deputy registrar of the High Court to accused persons stated that from May 9 to May 12, prosecutors will not be available to handle court matters.


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