US Links Kenyan Bus Company To Al Shabaab's Ksh13.9 Billion Income

The individuals and entities were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their enablers. 

US Links Kenyan Bus Company To Al Shabaab's Ksh13.9 Billion Income
The Machakos Country Bus Terminal in Nairobi. /BUSINESS TODAY

The United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued sanctions on 16 entities and individuals allegedly involved in raising and laundering funds for al-Shabaab, a terrorist group affiliated with al-Qa’ida, including two Kenyan businessmen and a Kenyan bus company.

Individuals within this network included influential businesspeople in the region who lend financial backing to al-Shabaab, a terrorist group responsible for some of the worst terrorist attacks in East Africa’s modern history, resulting in the loss of lives of thousands of innocent civilians.

The individuals and entities were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their enablers.

“The United States is committed to working with regional partners to root out terror financing networks and the entities they abuse to raise and move funds,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

Al Shabaab fighters during a past training. /THE EAST AFRICAN

“Today’s action is part of a multifaceted effort by Treasury to support the Somali government’s economic offensive against al-Shabaab—one of three pillars in their campaign to degrade this deadly terrorist group.” 

The nefarious terrorist group generates over $100 million (Ksh13.85 billion) per year by extorting local businesses and individuals, as well as through the financial support of affiliated businesspeople. 

Among the listed companies is Dubai-based Haleel Commodities L.L.C., also known as Haleel Group, which is a key financial facilitator for al-Shabaab, which relies on the leaders of Haleel Group, as well as its branches and subsidiaries in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Cyprus to generate and launder funds. 

Haleel Group’s subsidiaries in Cyprus include Haleel Finance LTD, Haleel Holdings, and Haleel LTD; the group also has branches in Kenya (Haleel Commodities Limited) and Uganda (Haleel Commodities LTD) and operates as Haleel Electronics in Somalia. 

The American government further listed Kenya-based Faysal Yusuf Dini (Dini) as an al-Shabaab financial facilitator who leverages the Haleel Group and some of its leadership to transfer funds on behalf of al-Shabaab. 

He also works closely with Kenya-based Mohamed Jumale Ali Awale (Awale) to plan investment projects and money laundering activities. This includes managing al-Shabaab funds laundered through investment projects and companies, including through Kenya-based Crown Bus Services which was revealed to have also supported al-Shabaab’s logistical operations.

Also listed was Hassan Abdirahman Mahamed, a Finland-based Somali citizen, who uses money transfer and hawala businesses to support al-Shabaab’s money laundering operations linked to the network of Haleel Group and Qemat Al Najah General Trading.  

"UAE-based Mohamed Artan Robel is another member of this money laundering network supporting al-Shabaab through the Haleel Group and Qemat Al Najah General Trading.  Abdikarin Farah Mohamed is a Somalia-based key member of this money laundering network. 

"Farhan Hussein Hayder (Hayder) directs and manages Haleel Group’s branches in Kenya, Uganda, Cyprus, and the UAE, and supports al-Shabaab by generating funds for the group through these businesses," stated the Treasury in its statement.

The US Treasury indicated that the threat posed by al-Shabaab is not limited to Somalia.  Al-Shabaab’s revenues are disbursed to other al-Qa’ida-supported groups worldwide and help fund al-Qa’ida’s global ambitions to sow discord and undermine good governance. 

"This action continues Treasury’s efforts to disrupt al-Shabaab’s abuse of the regional financial system and builds on OFAC’s October 2022 designation of a network of al-Shabaab financial facilitators who served as key interlocutors between al-Shabaab and local businesses in Somalia," added the Treasury.

An image of a bundle of notes. /FILE