WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four members of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cell operating in South Africa who have provided technical, financial, or material support to the terrorist group. Treasury also designated eight companies owned, controlled, or directed by the individuals in this ISIS cell. ISIS continues to expand its terrorist network across the continent, as evidenced by the July 2022 United Nations Security Council report that highlighted the emerging importance of the country for funds transfers from ISIS leadership to ISIS affiliates across Africa. Treasury remains committed to exposing and disrupting terrorist financing on the African continent.
“Today, Treasury is targeting key individuals in ISIS’s network in South Africa, as well as their business assets, who have played pivotal roles in enabling terrorism and other criminal activities in the region,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States, as part of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, will continue to partner with South Africa to deny ISIS the ability to exploit the country’s economy to raise and move funds to support the growth of ISIS affiliates and networks.”
Treasury is designating these individuals and entities pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups, their supporters, and associated assets.
FARHAD HOOMER’S ASSOCIATES AND BUSINESSES
The South Africa-based ISIS members designated today are associates of Treasury-designated ISIS cell leader Farhad Hoomer, who continues to pursue ISIS’s objectives in southern Africa and express the will and intent to attack the interests of the United States and its allies.
Brothers Nufael Akbar and Yunus Mohamad Akbar are senior members of a Durban, South Africa-based ISIS cell led by Farhad Hoomer. Nufael Akbar has collaborated with and been directed by Hoomer. Nufael Akbar is a central commanding figure in the Durban-based ISIS cell. Yunus Akbar functions as an enforcer and logistical coordinator for the ISIS cell.
Today’s action also targets two other Hoomer associates, Mohamad Akbar and Umar Akbar, who were arrested in 2018 by South African authorities along with Hoomer for their involvement in a plan to deploy improvised incendiary devices near a mosque and commercial retail buildings.
Nufael Akbar, Yunus Mohamad Akbar, Mohamad Akbar, and Umar Akbar are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS.
OFAC is also designating four south Africa-based companies in connection with Nufael Akbar and Yunus Mohamad Akbar. MA Gold Traders (PTY) LTD is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by Nufael Akbar. Bailey Holdings (PTY) LTD and Flexoseal Waterproofing Solutions (PTY) LTD are being designated, pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by Yunus Mohamad Akbar. HJ Bannister Construction CC is being designated today, pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being jointly owned, controlled, or directed by Nufael Akbar and Yunus Mohamad Akbar.
Additionally, Treasury is designating, pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, four South Africa-based companies for being owned, controlled, or directed by Farhad Hoomer: Sultans Construction CC, Ashiq Jewellers CC, Ineos Trading (PTY) LTD, and Shaahista Shoes CC.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States, including transactions transiting the United States, that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Furthermore, engaging in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today entails risk of secondary sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended. Pursuant to this authority, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account of a foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from its ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please refer to OFAC’s website.