Iftin Express denies allegations of support for the arms trade

BOSSASO, Northeastern State – A top Somali money transfer leader has refuted allegations of money laundering and facilitating the arms trade in the Horn of Africa country, days after the Global Initiative team l linked to professional misconduct and the illicit arms trade.

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The Iftin Express, based in the northern federal state of Northeastern State, dismissed the allegations as< fabrications >>, adding that the accusers had no evidence< de fond >> to link them to behavior, which violates various arms embargoes imposed by the United Nations Security Council [UNSC].

Senior officials said the accusers, who shared details with the Global Initiative, may have falsified receipts out of vendetta and malice against the money transfer giant. The company is popular in Somalia and is ranked among those who have excelled locally in terms of service delivery.

“Iftin Express advises that the allegations made in this report were based on a single fake receipt for a pseudo-transaction that allegedly took place in March 2020,” read the company’s statement released last week.

A report released by Reuters claimed that Somalia-based money transfer organizations [MTOs] have in the past facilitated the movement of nearly $ 3.7 million in cash between suspected arms traffickers, including a Yemeni under US sanctions.

According to the report, most of the details were gathered by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, which insisted that the OMTs in Somalia facilitate transfers. Iftin Express is mentioned as one of the companies which “processed the transactions using different combinations of its name and nickname”.

But in a reply Wednesday last week, Iftin distanced himself from the report by noting that it adheres to anti-money laundering regulations and reports all of its transactions to the Central Bank of Somalia on a quarterly basis. The Garowe-based company insisted the report had been grossly manipulated.

“Based on the factual information currently available to us and the results of an internal investigation conducted following the publication of the report, Global Initiative has been manifestly misleading by third parties whose sinister intentions and intentions are not known to us. known at this stage. point in time, ”the company said.

Going forward, the company noted that it may consider taking legal action against the Global Initiative team. Preliminary inquiries have established that Global Initiative relied heavily on claims by Jay Bahadur, who previously worked with the UNSC watchdog group, who avoided releasing the report on suspicion of its “authenticity and lack of sufficient evidence.”

Bahadur, who now works with the Global Initiative, is said to have stealthily leaked the report to his new employers, who ultimately failed to do their due diligence before releasing the report. The report, Iftin Express said, could damage its international reputation as a money transfer company, hence the possibility of considering possible legal action.

“These misleading claims (are apparently intended to) cause serious negative repercussions on the reputation and long standing reputation of our company and the Somali financial sector in general,” the company said in a long statement.

“In view of this potentially damaging reputational risk, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, Iftin Express will weigh to initiate appropriate legal proceedings against those who may have conspired against our company and our interests.”

Abdisaid M. Ali, the national security adviser to the president of Somalia supported the company’s position, saying there is a coordinated plan to organize the collapse of the money transfer company. To date, the Global Initiative team has yet to issue a rebuttal on the latest developments compared to their original report.

Somalia’s economy depends on private money transfer companies which have traditionally acted as banks. These affiliates are often accused of terrorist financing, a claim that has never been substantiated by those who fuel allegations of their modus operandi.

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