The Somali property developer based in Djibouti Al-Rayan has tightened its control on Djibouti's Salaam African Bank. The company director, Mohamed Ahmed Ali, was able to buy out the family of one of the Djibouti bank's main shareholders, Mohamed Abdi Abdillahi, who died earlier this year. This transaction, completed 8 June, makes Al-Rayan the bank's largest shareholder, far outweighing its founder, Ali Ahmed Nur Jimale's investor company Salaam Group (Africa Intelligence, 09/11/18).

Nothing has changed at the top level yet. The bank chairman is still the Salaam Group-appointed freight and shipping expert Ali Abdallah Hettam, and vice-chair, Abdihakim Hassan Idow, is a prominent member of the investor group. Idow is a board member of one of the leading telecom operators in Somalia and a Salaam Group subsidiary, Hormuud Telecom Somalia.

Accusations from Somalia

Yet, Salaam Group's close ties to President Ismail Omar Guelleh has put it in rather a delicate position in Somalia, which has fired several barbs at the Djibouti bank's vice chairman. The head of Somalia's National Intelligence Security Agency, Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, has slammed Idow for being both a member of the Salaam Group and part of the logistical management for the self-proclaimed jihadist movement al-Shabaab.

This is not the first time the Somali group has come under fire for its ties to the al-Shabaab insurgents: the group founder Nur Jimale's name cropped up on a United Nations Security Council sanction list in February 2012, though was cleared two years later (Africa Intelligence, 18/12/15).

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