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$25.9 million embezzlement uncovered in Somalia’s work permits and passport services

Wednesday July 3, 2024



Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has uncovered a staggering case of embezzlement in government work permits and passport services. A forensic audit spanning from March 8, 2018, to April 20, 2023, has revealed a significant gap between the total revenue collected and the amounts deposited into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

The audit reported that the total revenue collected from work permits and visa extensions was $33,370,260. However, only $12,437,690 was deposited into the TSA, revealing an embezzlement of $20,932,570. Similarly, passport services collected $41,804,998 in revenue, but only $36,828,047 was deposited, showing a discrepancy of $4,976,951.

The forensic audit has resulted in the conviction of 11 officers for their involvement in criminal offences. Their sentences, ranging from one to nine years in prison, serve as a stark warning. Some individuals have been barred from government employment for five years, while others have been permanently prohibited from such employment.

The irregularities were first detected in 2020 during a compliance audit for the fiscal year 2019. This prompted a thorough investigation by the OAG. The audit engagement period extended from March 8, 2018, to April 20, 2023, covering multiple areas of government revenue generation. A total of 22 officers were accused by the Office of the Attorney General, including 15 officers from the Immigration and Naturalization Directorate, three officers from the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, and four officers from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

The forensic audit revealed significant increases in monthly income from visa extensions and work permits. The monthly income from the visa extension service increased from $160,419.67 to $439,045. The monthly income from the work permit service increased from $43,476.89 to $358,400.

The Office of the Auditor General FRS submitted the Compliance and Financial Audit Reports for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023, to both houses of Parliament, in line with Article 45(3) of the Public Financial Management Law. These reports will be accessible on the OAG website (http://oag.gov.so) in one month, as per Article 10(1) of the OAG Law and Article 45(4) of the PFM Law.




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