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Trent Franks' bio on his Liberty Energy web page features his official photograph from the House of Representatives.

Rough Ride in Somalia for Trent Franks Oil Company

Liberty Petroleum Corp, founded by CD8 hopeful, has project canned by PM

By Arizona Globe Staff, April 2, 2024 5:19 pm

Over decades of covering politics, one axiom has remained inviolable. If a candidate in a contested race does something questionable, his opponents will stumble upon it before even the most dogged journalists.

Arizona Globe has been covering the race for the Republican nomination in CD8 very aggressively. So it’s no surprise that when former congressman Trent Franks—one of the Republicans vying for the nod, in hopes to return to his old seat—was attached to some kinda strange news, we eventually heard from several supporters of rival camps.

According to documents included in a March 13 tweet by a journalist who goes by the Twitter handle Sharmake and covers the Horn of Africa and Somaliland, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre of Somalia rejected a petroleum deal favored by his own ministers with Liberty Petroleum. Liberty is the company founded by the Franks family that does exploration and development mostly in Australia. Former Cong. Franks is the firm’s co-founder and chairman.

This document from March 13, 2024, purportedly shows Somali Prime Minister Hamza Barre declining to sign off on a deal with Liberty Petroleum.

According to Sharmake, “This move will further diminish Somalia’s credibility as a reasonable and honest actor with its government yet again at odds internally over contracts signed. The Prime Minister suggests this deal has not undergone the necessary legal process thus making it null and void.”

The Globe is not sure exactly what to make of this, because expertise on Somali energy deals falls outside even the wide purview of our curious minds. (We went down a Wiki rabbit hole this afternoon that revealed “Somaliland” is a different entity from Somalia, having severed ties with Mogadishu in 1991 and declaring independence. Somaliland has sought international recognition ever since and while no major foreign government recognizes its sovereignty, many essentially accept the region as an independent actor not governed by Mogadishu.)

Bottom line, the Globe has no insight to offer on whether anything involving Liberty or this deal is at all fishy. One can only imagine that it’s not easy to do business in a part of the world that’s been ravaged by war and poverty for what seems like forever.

But for a candidate who is already under extra scrutiny given the bizarre circumstances of his exit from Congress the first time, one would think he’d take every caution not to raise eyebrows as he seeks to regain traction in the public mind.

The Globe reached out to Franks, and will update this story if he chooses to respond.

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