Soma Oil & Gas Limited (“Soma” or “the Company”) is a private UK company founded in 2013 to pursue oil and gas exploration opportunities in Somalia.
Today, the High Court issued its written Judgment in relation to the Company’s application for judicial review of the SFO’s investigation. The application was unsuccessful but the judgment contains a number of important observations.
The Judgment notes that the allegations of the SEMG have been fully investigated by the SFO and there is “insufficient evidence of criminality… in relation to the ‘capacity building payments’ issue to found any realistic prospect of conviction”.
Richard Anderson, CEO of Soma, commented:
“We remain disappointed that third parties apparently continue in their attempts to undermine Soma’s competitive advantage as a first mover back into Somalia after over 20 years of unrest. It is all too easy for third parties to make assumptions and allegations about commercial successes in difficult environments around the world but the fact of the matter is that Soma has behaved properly at all times. The SFO has confirmed to the Court that it has found no evidence of wrongdoing during its investigation into the allegations set out in the SEMG’s report and we are confident that any outstanding lines of inquiry will not result in any action against Soma.
We continue to work closely with the Ministries of the Federal Government of Somalia, supported by their third party advisors, to convert our Notice of Application into Production Sharing Agreements that will enable us to take the next steps to confirm if there is a working petroleum system offshore Somalia.
Soma’s application for Judicial Review did not in any way constitute a complaint about the conduct of the SFO which has been professional and thorough during the entirety of the investigation. We respect the role of the SFO and recognise that, when concluded, the investigation will be a net positive for the Company. The application reflected the Company’s concern to bring the investigation to an end as quickly as possible in circumstances where it is confident that any allegations of corruption are completely unfounded and where the cloud over the Company has caused severe financial and operational difficulties for us”.