Australian accused of funding private Somali army.

United Nations investigators say an Australian citizen is helping to fund and run a “private army” for the president of Somalia‘s semi-autonomous Puntland region.

The Somalia Monitoring Group, a team of specialists appointed by the UN Security Council to investigate suspected arms embargo breaches, claims Lafras Luitingh is a leader of a group which is helping to train and equip a large militia force.

Mr Luitingh was granted Australian citizenship in 2009.

He lives in a glamorous penthouse apartment on Sydney Harbour and his neighbours are wealthy merchant bankers and socialites.

As well as the penthouse, he is a half-owner of an apartment overlooking Sydney’s Bondi Beach and, according to UN investigators, he controls a string of companies and bank accounts in Australia and around the world.

When the ABC called his Sydney apartment, Mr Luitingh was not home.

The places where he does business are far removed from his idyllic waterfront homes. He is a former South African mercenary and still very much in the guns-for-hire business.

For the past two years, he has been working in war-torn Somalia.

Since the collapse of the government there in 1991, the country has been ruled by gun-toting warlords and become a haven for pirates and Islamic extremists.

There is no banking system, no border controls, and for the past two decades the UN Security Council has imposed a complete arms embargo there. READ MORE ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

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