HARGEISA – A well known Somalilander journalist and two women living in Hargeisa are facing heat for allegedly misusing funds raised for Mohamed Harir Ahmed, a sick 13-year old boy living in Hargeisa.
$930 raised following news report on Mohamed’s condition
Somalis around the world began to raise money for Mohamed in early March after a news report on his condition was aired by Universal TV.
The money was raised to pay for Mohamed’s medical and travel expenses, as doctors in Somaliland were unable to treat his condition.
According to the report, Mohamed has been suffering from an undisclosed kidney illness for the past 10 years. He was abandoned by his mother at an early age and was taken in by relatives in 2008 after his father became ill. After his aunt began a new job, he was given shelter at Hargeisa General Hospital.
The money was then sent to Hamda Haji October, the Universal TV journalist who presented the program on Mohamed’s illness.
Hamda then contacted Mohamed to arrange the handover of the funds. Mohamed told Hamda to hand the funds over to two females who were raising funds for him prior the airing of the news report.
The two females, Hibo and Hodo, told Hamda that they are members of a local charity and have raised $1400 for Mohamed so far.
Hamda believed their story and handed over the money.
Hodo contacted Hamda earlier this month, telling her that Hibo was using the funds raised for Mohamed for her own personal expenses. Hodo told Hamda that she resigned from the charity immediately after finding out.
Hamda then went live on Facebook with the sick boy on Tuesday to expose the pair.
“I confronted Hibo shortly afterward and asked her whether it was true or not. Hibo admitted to misusing the $930 I gave her in April, claiming that she spent all of the money on taxi rides and soft drinks. I then asked Hibo to pay me back. After several attempts of trying to get the money back from her, I have decided to now expose the pair,” Hamda told her followers on Facebook.
Hamda then asked Mohamed whether he received any treatment or medication from the money that was given to the two females.
“I didn’t receive any treatment. The day you handed the money over to Hibo was the last time I’ve ever heard of the money” said Mohamed.
Hamda then began to tell her viewers about a journalist sent by the two females to talk her out of exposing the story.
“There was also a journalist, who I don’t want to name, that tried to talk me out of exposing the story. I told him that I must expose the story, much to his dismay,” Hamda said.
Kalsan TV Director sides with Hibo and Hodo, organizes staged interview with Mohamed’s father
Ali Mahdi Jibril, the journalist who Hamda was referring to, went live on Facebook on Wednesday.
Ali Mahdi serves as Director of Kalsan TV’s Somaliland branch and is a well-known face within Somaliland’s media circles.
Ali Mahdi went live on Facebook from his office at Kalsan TV’s headquarters. Mohamed and his ill father, Harir Ahmed, were also in the video.
The boy’s father, Hariir Ahmed, told Ali Mahdi’s viewers on Facebook that the family received the money and that Hamda’s story was false.
Mohamed sat quietly in the video as his father chatted with Ali Mahdi.
Ali Mahdi then took shots at Hamda for outing the girls, arguing that they ‘didn’t deserve to be exposed’ and accused Hamda of jumping to conclusions. Ali Mahdi repeatedly claimed throughout the video that no money was stolen.
“I came on Facebook live to prove that no money was lost. Here’s the boy father in my office telling the truth. Hamda’s story is completely false” Ali Mahdi told his followers.
“Before we arrived at Kalsan TV’s headquarters, my father told me he is going to lie about the story so that no shame is brought upon our family. My father also ordered to me agree with whatever he says,” Mohamed told Hamda.
Ali Mahdi’s quick defense of the girls, lack of proof for his claims and the staged interview with the boy’s father are prompting many now to believe that he is also in on the scheme.
After Ali Mahdi aired the video, Hamda quickly defended herself on Facebook, promising to reveal a recording of a phone conversation between herself and Hibo, where she admitted to misusing the funds. She also accused Ali Mahdi of being in on the scheme, citing his staged interview with the father.
Recording reveals admission of guilt
Hamda released the recording on Wednesday night, stunning many of the people who were following the story on social media. In the recording, Hibo admitted to misusing the funds and promised to pay back the money she misused by June 16th.
Throughout the call, Hamda remained adamant on receiving the money before 16th and told her to pay it back as soon as possible. Hibo agreed to Hamda’s request. The story then became public after she failed to keep her promise.
The story then became public after she failed to keep her promise.
Public reacts to recording, calls on Somaliland’s police force and Justice Ministry to launch investigation
Thousands of followers of the story reacted angrily to the recording on Wednesday night, calling on Somaliland’s authorities to launch an investigation into the claims. Many are now calling on Somaliland’s police force and Justice Ministry to detain Ali Mahdi and the two females, Hibo and Hodo.
So far, Somaliland’s Justice Ministry has yet to comment on the story.