A former top financial manager in the Somalia government has released a report detailing how over $1 billion was diverted from the national budget between 2013 and 2015.
Abdirazak Fartaag worked as the head of the Public Finance Management Unit between 2009 and 2011 and his report was released on October 26.
In the report titled Breaking Point in Somalia: How state failure was financed and by whom, the whistleblower says the government receives and spends more money from donors and domestic revenue than they account for.
For instance, the government’s expenditure for the three years stood at $169 million, while Mr Fartaag’s reconciliation stands at $1.2 billion, which means over $1 billion is unaccounted for.
“Money from western and Arab donors, and domestic revenue are normally under-declared and expenditures inflated to allow diversions to local and international non-governmental organisation’s owned by politicians,” said Mr Fartaag.
But Daud Aweis, the spokesperson at the Office of the President, dismissed the allegations saying that; “Fartaag is well known as a person who is politically motivated and produces false allegations. His allegations do not deserve any attention.”
“There is lack of oversight institutions and this is deliberate. The Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance are controlled by the president, while the Auditor-General does not produce annual reports on government expenditure,” said Mr Fartaag.
In a recent interview with The EastAfrican, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said that since he took over in 2012, the country has established prudent regulations and passed various legislation for financial governance such as investment laws, procurement and audit laws and Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.
“We have established a public finance management system that is sound and has been tested by our international partners; we also streamlined tax collection,” said President Mohamud.
Mr Fartaag, who is currently the chief executive of the Fartaag Research & Consulting firm based in Nairobi, calls for a continental audit by the African Union.
By Fred Oluoch
Top Secret of Somali TFG Leaders- Corruption Documents
This article follows the audit investigation compiled by Public Finance Management Unit (PFMU) of the TFG II covering the accountancy in the Executive Summary of the years 2009-2010.The BBC Somali language service aired a flabbergasting piece of news that stunned the Somali people wherever they are located. It was a home brewed financial scandal involving the high circle of TFG II club.
It was not a mere robbery of the Central bank of Somalia in Mogadishu. It is about 300 million USD unaccounted income revenue which epitomizes the biggest misappropriation funds in the financial history of the Nation which is melted in the pockets of the TFG ruling class.
Before anything else, we are sending our deeply felt gratitude to the exceptional whistle blower Mr. Abdulrizak Fartaag, head of the Public Finance Management Unit under the current Prime Minister of the TFG II Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaago.
Fartaag is a knowledgeable, honest civil servant who held the same position under the former Prime Minister Mr. Omar A. Ali Sharkarke, who turned out to be a heavy weight member of thenotorious The Fraud Gang.
The current TFG tenure term in office is three years beginning from late 2009 and ending early August 2011. During the first two years of its mandate, some of the top echelon of the TFG II establishment pocketed a staggering 300 million USD- a lump sum that includes local tax income revenue from Mogadishu Port and the Airport and a generous donated funds contributed by three or so dozen nations around the globe.
Collected Khat tax revenue and other national royalties are missing, and are not part of the current high lightened misappropriated funds in question.
Be Aware of the Fraud Gang
Locally, this profiteering club is nicknamed “The Fraud gang”, a fitting name that depicts their parochial character. As a leopard cannot change the color of its skin, so the Fraud Gang cannot change its deceptive character and fails to ask the forgiveness of the robbed nation in order to get away with their spoils.
As far as the Somali nation is concerned, no Somali government official-past or present in the transition period- is immune of misusing public funds. It is the political culture adopted by competing top leaders to accumulate illegal fortune skimmed from the national coffers only to be used for self- political dominance.
The only exception we have had so far is the Prime Minister of the current TFG Mr. Mohamed A. Farmago and his secretary and the whistle blower, Mr. Abdirizak Fartaag, God bless their soul.
It is rare occurrence to have someone in the TFG II establishment who sticks out against all odds and displays facts and figures without exchanging any tradeoffs. The TFG II may succeed to eliminating an uncomfortable, potential witness, but Fartaag has earned a reputable position among his betrayed folks- a recognition that can become an asset for his future career.
We urge the Prime Minister to beef up the security of Mr. Fartaag until this fishy matter is resolved.
The embezzled funds could have served a useful purpose for the local recipients: It could have been used for restoring the broken social services.
It could have served to drill a number of borehole water wells in rural lands in order to prevent perishing people and livestock during droughts. It could have covered the running costs of good governance.
It could have served purchasing relief food supplies to put up three millions of rural communities affected by natural and man-made catastrophes that took place in the past three decades, mainly by political disarray, prolonged droughts and bad governance.
A Reign of Unmitigated Scandal
The money scandal begun during the Transitional National Government headed by Mr. Abdulkasim Salad Hassan from 04-06, but no one ever investigated how much of such fund was collected and how it was dispensed.
The same misappropriation formula was taken over by the TFG I establishment of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in hands in glove with his Prime Minister, Mr. Ali Mohamed Ghedi. No one ever followed the money trail pipelined to TFG I until now.
But the biggest money embezzlement took place during the tenure of the current TFG II, and the heavy-handed leaders include: Mr. Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the TFG, Mr. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the chairman of the parliament, the former Minister of Finance, who happens to be the current chairman of the Parliament, Mr. Abdulkadir Jurile, the Minister of Post &Telecommunication, and the former Prime Minister Mr. Omar Abdirasheed A. Sharmarke.
The list could be longer if we put in the murky pot all the names of lesser fishes entangled in the financial scandal.
In particular, sacking Mr. Omar Abdirasheed was a setback to Puntland Autonomous State. Puntland authority was incensed and walked out of the TFG II umbrella when Omar lost his premiership position, because he was a major the lifeline supporter that put up his ancestral homeland by supplying arms shipments and footing in lucrative development projects, while keeping the rest of the autonomous regions on the dry.
Even the man in the street knew the big time cheaters of the nation who happen to be the most eminent of the TFG II establishment…!
The Somali people do not blame the benevolent donors who trusted such elements because no one knew their dual character, and besides of that, they are the gate holders that dispense the national income revenue at will without accountability. Yes, donors earmarked the funds to uplift the broken nation of Somalia and not to enriching a handful of fraudulent local chiefs.
Facts on Ground
As BBC broadcasting service reported, the beneficiary nations that had contributed development and service funds in 2009-2010 and include: Libya, a major contributor of the money who paid over 40 million UDS in cash, followed by Sudan, EAE, Qatar, Oman, USA, China and Rwanda.
The Somali State Audit Office reported unaccounted 145million USD in 2009 and 156 million USD in 2010. The total misused income revenue of the years 2009- 2010 exceeds 300 million USD; yet there are other nations that have donated undocumented quantity of USD cash to Somalia through the TFG II leadership traveling luggage.
These nations include: Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Djibouti, only to name a few of them. As Somalia falls under the trust ship of the United Nations, there should be a binding obligation from its part and following the money scandal and netting all the culprits before the election date in August, 2011.
To an honest mind in the street, this newsworthy news sounds a tale-telling fairy story hard to swallow. It boggles the mind of millions of Somalis scattered worldwide, and in particular, the immediate squatters living in run-down makeshifts next door to the opulent TFG II leadership compounds.
Paradoxically, when a lion fills up its take, it leaves the scrape meat to the weak beasts coveting for the kill. The lion casts an arrogant glance to the meek contenders squatting nearby, then he licks his blood stained lips, strikes a bored yawn, swings triumphantly his tail and strolls at leisure to find a shady, hideout to rest for a couple of days without bothering prospective kills passing by.
The greedy, TFG leaders fail to leave behind the scrape meat, which baffles even the lion’s bestial character.
Unquestionably, the respective top TNG leaders and the succeeding TFG I and II establishments have dual characters, which portray blatant controversy. The so called TFG I & II leaders bleed their constituents to death, and stage political disunity that prolongs the social agony. Someone could say it is a cursed clique hard to get away.
Not only that, but they discredit the benevolent nations that tried to help the Somali people. In fact, they turned upside down the ordinary procedure of running the TFG I & II and the Parliament. The function of the government split into partisan archenemies jockeying for personal interest, and thus creating political polarization and lack of stability in the southern regions, while undermining the culture of good governance.
As we have described in earlier editorials in Keydmedia that the TNG and succeeding TFG I & II was led by a horde of heartless elements that disgrace the very fiber of the Somali people, while misleading young political elite waiting under their wings.
A High Jacked Future
The misappropriated income revenue was badly needed to restore missing social services, renovating dilapidated schools and hospitals, cleaning millions of accumulated waste matters clogging in the main streets of Mogadishu since the past twenty years.
It could have been invested in water proof security apparatuses and routing ultra-radical elements out of the country. They could have purchased modern scientific labs and teaching equipment to bolster the teetering facilities at the local universities.
It could have been used for training primary and secondary school teachers. It could have created job opportunities to thousands of jobless young adults. Such capital could have prevented the death toll caused by prolonged droughts in 8 regions of the country since the past two years. Our leaders are the disgrace of the century and their blatant conduct bleeds the traditional pride of the people.
In the eyes of the generous world communities, we are exposed and humiliated. Because of such political elements, the world has given us undeserved nicknames: The failed State. Somalia is a land of modern political Piracy.
Somalia is a self- destroying nation. The Nation governed by political spoilers. Somalia is a nation at war with itself, etc. We may resort to moan and complain about the magnitude of such financial deprivation. We may seek justice and reparation in vain and hating our political leaders who enjoy our misery. We simply don’t see the end of the vanishing point when we could declare independence from the Fraud Gang.
We may ask the UN to track down the misappropriated funds and giving back to the legitimate recipient society. It is not an easy ride, and rightly so, and the donors could respond: “Hey, don’t complain too much. You put these heartless elements in power and they robbed you. What can we do to remedy your pathetic situation now?” They have a point, and we may hardly accept facts, but we are not done yet. We seek for justice, and we could prevail.
Justice can be delayed but it is doable.
The Wrong people to Head a Government
Ironically, these elements were not elected by the Somali people but landed on power by a political compromise brokered by the UNPOS, and with the approval of AU and the EGAD. It was backed up by the EU, the Arab League, the Islamic Conference, and finally blessed by USA State Department.
In substance, it is a way of supporting illegitimate clique that robs its people, and yet basks the support of the UNDPOS, while getting away with the big time loot. This is an unprecedented episode of the century, and we are not proud of it a bit.
Unfortunately, the well-tailored world effort gave birth to a political monster that feeds on its people…! Yet, the worst thing that currently happening is the same clique, who continues to deceive us even harder and trying to be seen and accepted as the legitimate leaders of the Nation until the next August, 2011. Could this be a UNDPOS political hypocrisy or the demise of the legitimate recipients?
Exploiting Legislative Chamber
Unfortunately, there are 550 legislative members who serve either the interest of the President of TFG II and the speaker of the parliament. The Somali masses see to it that the TFG II is a weird institution run by a “Mafia Club.”
During a vote of confidence session, the parliament turns into a bipartisan vote trading hub with a few incorruptible legislators stranded in the tumultuous crowds and sticking out as the non-convertible few. They are penniless. They are clean, and they are happy and they will be rewarded in due time.
As expected, no one mentions the integrity of the few; rather they are ostracized and isolated. Why? They are potential witness to the shoddy business changing hands in the legislative hall, and that is a concern for the rest of the legislators and their bosses why they are hated, and occasionally hunted down to liquidate them for good. But we love them and eventually will use their in-house experience in due time.
A Parochial Chieftain
The trophy bearer of the embezzled income revenue is unquestionably Mr. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the Chairman of the Parliament, who in confidence brags about his immense ill-gotten fortune.
In Somalia, the name “Sharif” has its unique place in the name giving culture of the people. It reflects a spotless personality of the name holder. It denotes a saintly character befitting of respected community members as a whole, or an exceptional person accepted as a role model for the society. Rarely, a Sharif does have a political inclination and much less of becoming a heartless exploiter.
By respecting the traditional values of any given Sharif, we are swayed by the dual personality of Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.
By the grace of such name, no Somali person can put a question on the credibility of someone called after Sharif. “A saint is not expected to be sly and have dual character,” would remark the majority of the Somalis. A true Sharif conveys honesty, trustworthiness, pious heart, evenhanded personality and always standing on high moral ground, etc…etc. This time, we were dead wrong and time taught us otherwise.
It is not only the disappearance of the national income revenue in the past two years. The Minister of Post and telecommunication sold off the domain of the Nation to China and pocketed in proceed.
Also, Keydmedia is following a rumor that some other Ministers may be instrumental of receiving commission that leads to dumping nuclear waste products in the Eastern shoreline of Somalia by an Italian company(s).
Currently, some of the sealed containers had surfaced along the beaches of Hobbio and can be viewed on the spot. We formally ask the UNDPOS to check up these containers and take over the case.
Keydmedia has also learned that donated relief foods were sold to the open market and cashed in by the top leadership. It is a disgrace that relief food gift contributed by some Arab countries never got their way to the plates of the destitute.
Millions of baffled Somalis would say: “The pockets of the Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden are as deep as the bottom of Bermuda Triangle,” and the ill-gotten cash is stashed away in foreign banks. We need it and we have to get it back.
How the World Can Help Us?
A- Freezing the misappropriated funds deposited in foreign banks and remitting back to the National treasury chest. Be mindful of the account holders. The deposit accounts could be on the names of the suspected leaders, on the names of their spouses, their children and close family relations.
B- Deny the suspecting officials to granting entry VISA until they are cleared.
C-Following up the trail of unaccounted donated funds by Iran, Turkey, Djibouti, Kuwait, etc.
D- Deny bestowing statesmen recognition to corrupt officials.
Above article was first published in 2011.