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Study cites corruption in Somalia
Philadelphia Inquirer
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A scathing report written for the U.N. Security Council says that systematic misappropriation, embezzlement, and outright theft of taxpayer funds have become a system of governance in Somalia.

The nearly 200-page report lists numerous examples of money intended for Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) going missing, saying that for every $10 received, $7 never made it into state coffers.

The report, written by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea and obtained Monday by the Associated Press, says government revenues aren't even clear: The Ministry of Finance reported revenues of $72 million in fiscal year 2011, while the accountant general reported revenues of $55 million.

A report commissioned by the World Bank and published in May found that 68 percent of TFG revenues in 2009-10 were unaccounted for.

"The Monitoring Group's own investigations confirmed the involvement of senior TFG officials in the misappropriation of millions of dollars of domestic revenues and foreign aid," the U.N. report said.

The report further said that the political will to enact reforms "is lacking in the highest echelons of government."

"Nothing gets done in this government without someone asking the question . . . 'What's in it for me?' " the report quoted a senior government official as saying.

Somalian Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali condemned the allegations linking his office to corruption, calling the them "absolutely and demonstrably false."

Corruption has flourished inside the Somalian government for years.

Somalia hasn't had a fully functioning government since 1991. Armed militias had claimed power in Mogadishu until August, when African Union and Somalian government troops pushed the radical Islamist al-Shabab group out of the capital.

The weak, U.N.-backed government barely operates outside Mogadishu. Its U.N. mandate expires Aug. 20, and the international community is working with Somalian leaders to appoint a new parliament and elect a new president before then.

Because the government was not voted in by Somalian citizens, the public has only few mechanisms to hold officials to account for misused funds. The U.N. hopes to transition the country to a more representative form of government, but nationwide or even regional elections appear to be years away.

Somalian leaders are finalizing a council of elders and power brokers that is tasked with naming a new parliament within the next month. That parliament will then vote on a new president.


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