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Somali president addresses corruption and fraud in the Federal Public service

Two-thirds of the five thousand civil servants of the Somali federal government do not report for government work while some of them are certainly ghost employees despite still receiving their monthly salary paid by the World Bank, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Friday.

Mr. Mohamud, who was addressing government officials at the presidential mosque during the Friday prayer, said the ghost civil servants scheme had resulted the lose of millions of dollars provided by the international partners – including funds provided by U.S and British taxpayers – to support Somalia state-building in every month.

“There are more than 5,000 civil servants registered in our biometric system, but only 1,500 of them report to work every day. Where are the rest? They do not exist or  they do not live in the country. However, they are still paid. They are thieves and their superiors who accepted this scheme are also thieves. They are simply stealing public money,” he said. 

in 2014, the World Bank Group reengaged in Somalia for the first time in 23 years to provide public financial management, capacity building and budget support. Using biometric identification, the World Bank created a new project called Recurrent Cost and Reform Financing project (RCRF) which pays thousands of civil servants in the service of the new Somali state through the Central Bank. 

However, several reports previously warned that lack of transparency and limited supervision could lead to donor funding end up in private individuals’ pockets. 

PERFORMING HAJJ WITH STOLEN PUBLIC MONEY 

President Mohamud surprisingly admitted that some of his government officials have been travelling to perform Hajj – the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims – with the stolen public money.  

“These officials who stole the public money got dressed and went to the mosque with a robe and a turban on their shoulders.  Others bought plane tickets with the money they stole from the government and travelled to perform Umrah or Hajj. It is not possible,” he said.

Somalia, along with Syria, ranked next-to-last, scoring 13 on the CPI on a scale from 0 (“highly corrupt”) to 100 (“highly clean”) in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perception of public sector corruption of 180 countries around the world.

According to Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Corruption in Somalia is further exacerbated by the absence of a functional central government, a lack of resources and administrative capacity, weak leadership structures as well as a limited ability to pay public officials.

In his address, president Mohamud said his government remains very weak and could do anything to stop the problem of corruption in this country.

“We are not happy with it,” he added.