UPDATE: Auditor General, Nur Farah, rebuffs his dismissal; says only Parliament can sack him

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

Somali Auditor General Nur Farah was sacked by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire on Thursday, a day after his bodyguards shot dead a young Cabinet Minister at the front gates of Villa Somalia.

The sacking was confirmed by the Minister of Information, Abdirahman O. Osman “Eng. Yarrow” who tweeted from his personal account that the Council of Ministers in Somalia have “unanimously approved the sacking of the Auditor General so that authorities will begin full investigation”.

The Auditor General quickly dismissed the decision to fire him saying that the sacking was “unconstitutional”. He stated that the power to relieve him of his duties rests solely with the Parliament, and therefore cannot be dismissed by an order from the Prime Minister.

Article 114 of the Provisional Constitution of Somalia clearly stipulates that the offices of Attorney Genera, Auditor General and the Federal Central Bank as independent institutions.

Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction, Abbas Abdullahi Siraji – the youngest minister in the Somali cabinet – was shot dead yesterday evening by Somali government soldiers who were escorting the Auditor General, Nur Farah. The soldiers began firing at Mr. Siraji as his car approached the checkpoint leading to the compound.

The death was a result of mistaken identity. Auditor General, Nur Jimale Farah, apparently mistook the minister, who was driving himself in an unmarked civilian vehicle, for an assailant.

Farah said: “What happened was gunfire involving soldiers who had become suspicious of each other, and what happened was very bad – a brother was killed.”

Nur Farah asked the public not to “speculate about the details before the results” of the investigation become available. A subsequent probe into the killing led to his dismissal today.

Council of Ministers of unanimously approved the sacking of the Auditor General so that authorities will begin full investigation

Upon hearing of Mr. Siraji’s death, President Farmajo – who cut his trip to Ethiopia short to be with mourners – vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing.

“I’ve ordered the security heads to immediately get to the bottom of this unfortunate tragedy & make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice”.

Two soldiers were arrested in connection with the shooting. The cabinet heard that one of the officers is responsible for firing the bullet that killed Minister Siraji and that same officer allegedly pointed his gun at another officer during a dispute last week.

31-year-old Abbas Siraji was not alone in the car when he was fired upon, another minister was with him and was wounded in the shooting.

Abbas Siraji made headlines earlier this year with his inspiring story that saw him go from the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab, to being appointed a Federal Government Minister in Somalia.