The Somali government is investigating allegations related to British exploration firm Soma Oil and Gas, which has been searching for oil in Somalia, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on July 31 it had launched a criminal investigation into Soma Oil, although it did not outline the corruption allegations against the company, whose London headquarters were also searched.
Soma said at the time it was “confident that there is no basis to the allegation” and it was co-operating with the SFO.
It said it had always conducted its activities in a lawful and ethical matter.”The Somali government is investigating if there is any truth or reality to what Soma Oil has been accused of,” Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer told Reuters in a phone interview from London.
“An investigation will be concluded in a timely manner.”He did not give details about the charges.
Sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters in August the SFO probe was triggered by allegations outlined in a confidential U.N. report which accused the British firm of “systematic payoffs” to Somali officials.A Somali energy ministry spokesman said in August the government would cooperate with Soma Oil until the SFO investigation was concluded.