Somalia - Corruption
Government officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices. The law provides for criminal penalties for corruption by officials. The government did not implement the law effectively. The provisional constitution calls for formation of an independent anticorruption commission in 2012 with a mandate to investigate allegations of corruption in the public sector. The federal government did not establish the commission by the end of 2014.
The October 2014 report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea found that corruption continued and “patterns of misappropriation with diversion rates between 70 and 80 percent.” The report also addressed “secret contracting” where officials signed contracts regarding public assets without transparency or oversight. It reported that “individuals close to the presidency” were working to gain control of recovered oversees assets that should have gone to the central bank.
The report found that the central bank made payments to private persons or office holders for private purposes. It also reported on diversion of revenue from the Mogadishu port. According to the report, while revenue from the Mogadishu port increased to more than $5.5 million a month by the last half of 2013, the central bank received an average of $4.6 million a month from the port.
The federal government worked with the World Bank to establish a Financial Governance Committee (FGC) in response to Central Bank governor Yussur Abrar’s October 2013 resignation and pressure from the international community. The FGC consists of three members of international financial institutions and three members of the federal government. The FGC’s role was not well defined, as the federal government preferred it to act as an advisory body, while international partners called for it to be an oversight body. The FGC reviewed nine contracts during the past year and collected 14 contracts signed by the government overall. Despite recommendations from the FGC to renegotiate all nine reviewed contracts, the government did not make significant progress in doing so.
The World Bank helped the Ministry of Finance recruit candidates for the positions of auditor general and accountant general. The auditor general began work in April. A new accountant general was not in place by year’s end. The person who held this position during the year was not selected through a competitive process.
Individuals in government-controlled areas were generally not restricted from criticizing the government. In Somaliland and Puntland, persons often lacked the ability to criticize authorities without reprisal, particularly to criticize officials’ alleged corruption, their capacity to deal with security matters, and their mental and physical fitness to govern.
The civilian judicial system remained largely nonfunctional in the southern and central regions. Some regions established local courts that depended on the dominant local clan and associated factions for their authority. The judiciary in most areas relied on some combination of traditional and customary law, sharia, and formal law. The judiciary was subjected to influence and corruption. Authorities did not respect court orders. For safety reasons civilian judges often feared trying cases, leaving military courts to try the majority of civilian cases.
Somaliland had a national auditor and a governance and anticorruption commission appointed by Somaliland’s president.
Puntland did not have an anticorruption commission or equivalent, and authorities did not try any Puntland officials for corruption.
Al-Shabaab extorted high and unpredictable “zakat” (a Muslim obligation to donate to charity during Ramadan) and “sadaqa” taxes (a voluntary charity paid by Muslims) in the regions it controlled. It also diverted and stole humanitarian food aid.
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