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Somalia Questions Deal Giving Ex-U.K. Soldiers Fish Rights

A Somali boy crosses a checkpoint with a fish on his head, in Mogadishu, Somalia (AP Photo)
A Somali boy crosses a checkpoint with a fish on his head, in Mogadishu, Somalia (AP Photo)

(Bloomberg) – Somalia is seeking to renegotiate an agreement that gives a company run by former British soldiers sole control over one of the world’s richest fishing grounds off the longest coastline in Africa.

The deal, signed on July 25, 2013 with Mauritius-registered Somalia Fishguard Ltd., provided the company with an “extremely high” share of the revenue compared with similar agreements and failed to detail its investment commitments, Somalia Fisheries Minister Mohamed Olow Barow, said in a Nov. 21 letter obtained by Bloomberg. Barow also questioned the length of the agreement.

The fishing contract adds to concern from United Nations investigators that the country is entering agreements that are largely unscrutinized or lack a competitive bidding process.

“The Somalia Fishguard deal is just one of several major contracts awarded by the Somali federal government without a transparent tender process and other forms of public scrutiny,” Matt Bryden, director of Nairobi-based Sahan Research institute, said in an interview on Dec. 19.

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