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Auditor General’s report ‘erroneous’, Finance Minister says

Tuesday October 15, 2019

MOGADISHU (HOL) - Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh has torn into the recently released report by the Auditor General citing inaccuracies and failure by the Office of the Auditor General to seek audience with the Ministry before releasing the report.

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In rejoinder seen by HOL, Beileh raises concerns over variance of figures between those captured in the report and data from the Central of Bank of Somalia (CBS).

“We note a number of grave errors contained in the report which we believe could have been avoided if only a draft report had been availed to us and discussed prior to publication,” said Beileh.

In the report released last week which Beileh said only learnt about upon release, Auditor General Mohamed Ali raises questions of understatement of accounts, failure by government institutions to adequately account for funds used and failure to submit annual accounts for auditing.

Ali also questioned failure by government institutions to remit all monies to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) at the Central Bank as required by law. But in his response, Beileh notes some of the external assistance funds were kept intentionally in foreign accounts.

“It is important to note that, following an agreement with the IMF under SMP IV program, guidelines were prepared and cleared on the basis of which a “Fiscal Buffer” was established to enable government to sustain critical expenditures and avoid arrears in the face of volatile revenues,” said Beileh.

According, the Finance Minister said, some of the funds from donors ‘have been kept and maintained at Ziraat Bank in Istanbul, Turkey’.

The Auditor General said in his report $13,266,667 out of $17, 004, 816 disbursed by the European Union to the Federal Government in the 2018 financial year was recorded at the Central Bank.

But Beileh said the Auditor General overstated that figure since $12,011,954 was available as recorded by the CBS.

Similarly, in the Saudi Arabia grant, Beileh says, the OAG presented a different figure. $14,060,000 is the balance at CBS and not $13,929,132 as reported by the AG.

The Finance Minister also differed with the AG on money spent at source by government institutions noting the Ministry of Finance collects all revenues and deposits at the Central Bank ‘without delays.’

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