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Somali govt's finances questioned: offshore accounts, delayed accountability

Somali govt's finances questioned: offshore accounts, delayed accountability

Somalia

Somalia’s efforts to repair its reputation with international lending institutions may have been derailed on Wednesday when the country’s auditor general said the government is keeping some donor funds offshore and none of the ministries have completed last year’s accounts.

The critical audit comes as World Bank considers forgiving Somalia’s debt burden of $4.6 billion to help the government win greater access to international financing to tackle nearly three decades of lawlessness and violence.

The report said $18 million from the European Union, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations did not pass through the treasury’s account at the central bank. Some of the money was kept in offshore accounts with weaker controls.

Turkey gave Somalia $20 million in cash, but there was no independent audit trail for it, the report said.

“There is a risk that external assistance from Turkey was not banked intact in the Treasury single account in a timely manner,” it read.

The police and military, in the frontline of the fight against an al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency, still have no system to account for vehicles, weapons, and uniforms, according to a more detailed audit of the security sector, also published on Wednesday.

Some food provided to soldiers through a government contract had expired and it was still unclear how many soldiers are actually in the army, that audit said, flagging a long-running problem donors have tried to address with a biometric database.

In 2017, the United States suspended food and fuel aid for most of Somalia’s armed forces for alleged graft and frustration at the failure of successive Somali governments to build a viable national army.

ALSO READ: New Somali PM vows to eliminate corruption

REUTERS

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