As election approaches, public funds’ theft is on the rise in Somalia 

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somalia-corruption
by Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI– Less than one month before Somalia holds a presidential election, alarms are being raised over abuses by officials in the UN-backed Somali government who continue to manipulate financial institutions by siphoning public funds under pretext of executing bogus funds, sources told Alleastafrica.

According to officials at the central bank and finance ministry, Somali ministers have continue to exercise overriding influences on the financial institutions, demanding funds for non-exist projects in an attempt to enrich themselves before the election starts on October 30 by taking advantage of the weak monitoring system.

At some point, some ministers have reportedly diverted budgets meant for their ministries into their private accounts, depriving government employees  of their irregular payments.

“It’s a well-coordinated and systematic corruption that are being executed in a clandestine manner which can rarely raise the attention of leaders.” A senior Somali central bank official told Alleastafrica by phone from Mogadishu.

The amount of money stolen by unscrupulous officials remain unclear, however the new corruption cases are happening owing to a reported lack of accountability in the receipt and expenditure of public funds by the government.

In addition, the development comes on the backdrops of efforts by the central government to curb the rampant corruption cases by officials as it announced that it had launched a new Public Finance Management Policy (PFMP) in 2013 to render more transparent, accurate and timely its public sector financial system, and to strengthen the delivery capacity of the government’s financial sector.

A parliamentary finance committee was also established in 2014, which was supposed to oversee all withdrawal transactions from the Central Bank.

Meanwhile, the country’s opposition parties have routinely accused the current government’s leaders of engaging in public funds theft to fund their election campaigns.

Corruption was deemed a widespread problem in recent years.

Somalia continues to stay on top on the world’s most corrupt nations’ Index.

Somalia’s economy is heavily dominated by the informal sector, and particularly by remittances and telecommunications.

In a recent report, the International Crisis Group (ICG) noted that while the “chaotic, unregulated laissez faire market system” that came into existence after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 is generally seen as unleashing an entrepreneurial spirit in Somalia, it is also partly responsible for fuelling corruption.

According to the ICG and the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, the vibrant Somali telecoms sector is seen as particularly corrupt.

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