Bahrain probe focus on livestock import fees
Manama, December 31, 2013
An investigation underway in Bahrain into alleged corruption surrounding livestock imports is focusing on a quarantine facility in Somalia, a report said.
An inquiry had been launched after a Saudi livestock importer complained that a shipment of 40,000 sheep destined for Bahrain had been stalled, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has ordered a probe into the complaint, which centres on allegations that the importer was being asked to pay over the odds to quarantine the animals in Djibouti.
Sources told the GDN that an "unofficial rule" states that only sheep quarantined in a particular facility in Djibouti could be shipped to Bahrain - and that quarantine was owned by a relative of a Yemeni livestock trader, who donated BD150,000 ($393,000) towards a new facility in Bahrain.
"There were 40,000 heads of sheep on their way to Bahrain that were supposed to be sold to the Bahrain Livestock Company (BLC)," said sources.
"The authorities in Bahrain have become strict and will no longer accept livestock from Djibouti unless it comes from the quarantine that belongs to the brother of the Yemeni importer who built the quarantine here in Bahrain.
"Now this brother in Djibouti is charging a huge amount to get the sheep quarantined - over 300 per cent more than he should.
"There is another quarantine called Gulf Quarantine, which provides the same service at a much cheaper rate. The Yemeni charges $14 a head while Gulf Quarantine charges $4."
If that is the case the Saudi livestock importer stands to lose $400,000 in quarantine fees if he is prevented from using the cheaper facility, unless he passes on the higher cost to BLC - the main supplier of subsidised livestock to the Bahrain government.
"At a much higher cost the consignment will not be competitive for BLC to buy," said sources. – TradeArabia News Service