Somali minister resigns amid new tough anti corruption measures

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Maryan Qasim Ahmed, Somalia's minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has resigned this week, citing lack of coordination within the government

The exact circumstances surrounding the minister’s resignation remains unclear. However, it comes amid a new aggressive anti corruption campaign which is largely targeting senior officials including ministers suspected of committing economic crimes as parts of reforms to root out corruption in the government.

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – A Somali minister has resigned barely two weeks after the government has kicked off a new aggressive anti corruption campaign which is largely targeting senior officials including ministers suspected of committing economic crimes as parts of reforms to root out corruption in the government.

For years, the international community which channels millions of dollars through successive Somali governments has complained that systematic misappropriation, embezzlement and outright theft of public resources by officials have essentially become a system of governance in Somalia, a problem that the new government has vowed it’ll try to tackle.

Maryan Qasim Ahmed, Somalia’s minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has resigned this week, citing lack of coordination within the government.

However, Somali officials contended her account reasoning the resignation, saying that the minister’s resignation come one week after the country’s anti corruption body has demanded her to submit her ministry’s monthly financial records following questions over her ministry’s employment procedure and funds management.

One official at Somalia’s anti-corruption body who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the ongoing corruption inquiry against several high-profile officials and ministers in the government said that despite failure by Ms. Qasim to submit financial records in addition separate case over a mysterious employment scheme which saw dozens of her relatives hired by the ministry.

The official has further stated that the minister was exceptionally frustrated by the government’s refusal to hand over $4 million in donations raised by Somalis around the world for blast victims and their relatives that delivered by Somali clerics to her ministry over fears of corruption.

Somali government spokesman could not be reached for comment when contacted by an Alleastafrica reporter Friday.

In the meantime, as people in Somalia continue to raise questions over circumstances surrounding the minister’s resignation, an influential Somali cleric has responded to reports that his team’s delivery of the donation to the government, rather than her ministry angered the minister, leading to her sudden resignation.

Sheikh Mohamed Abdi, an influential Somali cleric has responded to reports that his team’s delivery of the donation to the government, rather than her ministry angered the minister, leading to her sudden resignation.

“If she resigned just because of that money which was meant for the poor victims, she had to be fired in the first place.” said Sheikh Mohamed Abdi who doubles Sheikh Umal, a Nairobi-based Somali cleric who led a team of clerics who delivered the donations package to the government.

Although, Somalia’s current government has shown a determination in fighting corruption which they said represents a major threat to the country’s stability, no official has so far been charged or removed from public office for stealing public funds.

Meanwhile, the new anti corruption measures, parts of a package of social and economic reforms by the new government, seek to introduce more oversight of corruption with public workers have been ordered to report corruption cases to the anti corruption agency which the government said was established in a bid to improve the functions of its institutions.

Somalia is often ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world by international watchdogs.

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