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Suspected al-Shebab elements are arrested by Somalia's troops during an operation/AFP


Sanctions needed on corrupt Somali leaders

Suspected al-Shebab elements are arrested by Somalia’s troops during an operation/AFP

NAIROBI, Jul 16 – Corrupt leaders in war-ravaged Somalia should face immediate Security Council sanctions, a UN report said, stressing that 70 percent of state revenues were stolen or squandered.

The leaked report said key leaders at the very top of government — including the president and the speaker of parliament — were mired in scandal, boosting the cause of Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents.

It called for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions “with the least possible delay”.

Somalia’s Western-funded Transitional Federal Government (TFG) ends its mandate next month, with several members hoping to remain in power afterwards. Many of them are accused in the report of “pervasive corruption”.

President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan are among leaders named in allegedly corrupt deals, the report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said.

“Out of every $10 received by the TFG in 2009-2010, $7 never made it into state coffers,” said the report, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

In 2011, almost a quarter of total government expenditure — over $12 million — was “absorbed” by the offices of the president, prime minister and speaker, it said.

This equalled half the TFG’s domestic income and “almost as much as the government spends on security in a time of conflict,” it added.

A May 2012 World Bank report found $131 million unaccounted for in TFG revenues in 2009-2010, or 68 percent of total recorded revenues, but the UN report suggested a further $40 million in 2011 could be missing.

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“Many TFG officials make no distinction between public and private finances, and treat financial rules and institutions as obstacles to be circumvented or disregarded,” it said.

While the Islamist Shebab insurgents have suffered a string of territorial losses in recent months, helping the government consolidate its fragile hold over the conflict-torn country, rampant corruption endangers what little gains have been made, the report said.

“The systematic misappropriation, embezzlement and outright theft of public resources have essentially become a system of governance,” it said, warning corruption was “the most serious impediment to building effective governing institutions”.

A failure to address the issue threatens “the restoration of peace, security and stability”, and “would fuel continued instability and conflict, potentially reviving the fortunes of an embattled Al-Shebab”, it said.

The report “therefore recommends that the Security Council… consider imposing targeted measures, and possibly other forms of political censure, against the senior Somali political leaders who bear responsibility.”


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