As Hargeisa Regional Court sentences people including a court clerk for bribery charges
By: Guleid Ahmed Jama
Somalilandsun- On 22nd September 2016, Hargeisa Regional Court sentenced a court clerk to four years of imprisonment for bribery charges.
The presiding judge pronounced the judgment with emphasize that the courts will not tolerate attempts of bribery.
The court sentenced the court clerk in abstentia to four years of imprisonment. Three other people were sentenced from two years to one year and six months of imprisonment for solicitation and paying bribery, respectively.
According to the charges, the clerk collected four thousand US dollars from two people who were party in a civil suit at the court. He promised to pay the money to a judge in order to rule on their favour. He gave 870 USD to a middleman and has taken the rest.
According to the records, the men who paid the bribery complained to the court. Apparently, they did not realize that they were incriminating themselves in an involvement of a criminal activity. The prosecution filled a criminal case and summoned the two men as witnesses. They testified before the court the payment of four thousand US dollars to court clerk in order to bribe a judge. The clerk was not at the court. According to the judgment, he fled to Mogadishu to scape justice. Legally, they have a right to appeal against the conviction to the higher court.
The court found two men guilty of paying bribery whereas the clerk was convicted for receiving bribery. The fourth man was found guilty for pretending to have influence with a public officer.
The chairman of Hargeisa Regional Court who also presided over the case, said that this is the first time a court in Somaliland convicts court official for bribery.
The public welcomed this move and hoped to send a strong message. Corruption is one of the deadly criminal activities that undermine the development and justice in the underdeveloped world.
The Chief Justice, Adam Haji-Ali Ahmed, promised fighting corruption in the judiciary and repeatedly asked the people to report if any court official demands bribery. Adam Haji-Ali Ahmed, former director of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies of University of Hargeisa, and chairman of Somaliland Non-state Actors Forum (SONSAF), came to office mid last year.
The author Guleid Ahmed Jama is a Somaliland lawyer based in Hargeisa where he also doubles as head of the Human Rights Centre