Businessman Denies Involvement in Alleged Somali Food Aid Diversion

A Somalia-based businessmen cited in a recent news report as the alleged source of food aid being resold in markets in Mogadishu has denied his involvement in the diversion of any assistance sent by donors to the famine-hit East African country.

In a story published Aug. 15, The Associated Press said it found sacks of food aid marked with logos of various donors being sold in a market in Mogadishu. Eight Somali businessmen interviewed by the news agency claimed they bought the food from Abdulqadir Mohamed Nur, who operates a Somali-based construction services provider firm.

“These reckless allegations are absolutely false,” Nur said in statement, referring to the claims he sold the food aid to the businessmen. “I have not been involved in the transportation of any [World Food Program] humanitarian aid since March 2010 — a fact that could easily been verified with WFP.”

Further, Nur said that a warehouse operated by his company in Mogadishu “is empty of food, and has been so for 16 months,” making allegations that he sold the food aid from this warehouse “baseless.”

“There is simply no basis for contending that I am actively receiving, much less selling on the black market, WFP aid intended for the starving people of my homeland,” Nur added.

WFP has acknowledged that it is investigating allegations of the food aid theft in Somalia but has rejected the scale of diversion described in The Associated Press article. The agency also said it has no plans of suspending its program in Somalia despite the reports of theft.

>> WFP: No Scaling Down of Somalia Relief Work Despite Food Aid Diversion Reports

>> In Somalia Famine Response, Reports of Food Aid Diversion

Read more news on the East African crisis.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.