The British Parliamentary lobby group, Conservative Friends of Djibouti, has reported the recovery of over 227 million dollars’ worth of assets by Djiboutian authorities. As part of the government’s on-going anti-corruption campaign, financial settlements with private sector agents as well as top government officials and civil servants has led to a transfer of the seized wealth to relatives of President Guelleh. The high-level crackdown has ended with the detention of top government aides at the Gabode prison, while the President’s family — specifically the two children of the First Lady of Djibouti — seem to be at the receiving end of the windfall. On the one hand, this incident testifies to the growing influence of the First Lady of Djibouti, while on the other, it shows how the President’s own family remains the epicentre of everything from greed and corruption to scandal and nepotism. The greatest victim here is local businesses such as the Kamaj Investments Group owned by Houssein Kamaj. Mr. Kamaj, already a subject of racial discrimination at the hands of the authorities, had to let go of more than 1300 local employees as a result.
Questions are asked as to whether the purge is the latest in a series of governmental crackdowns targeting local, independent businesses based on fabricated charges. The Attorney General of Djibouti has also benefited immensely from these targeted attacks as private equity funds derived from proceedings against local business owners have been directly amassed by the AG at the discretion of the President and his wife. The AG is now a multi-millionaire business tycoon in Djibouti having made his fortune from a broken judiciary system.