Mogadishu (PP News Desk) — President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud might find being compared to his predecessor unfair. Such a sentiment would have been fair ten years ago when he was elected the President who led the first post-transition Somalia government. Public finances auditing is the first point of comparison between President Hassan and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. The Office of the Somalia Auditor General (OAG) published three annual reports (2018,2019 and 2020). During President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s first term of office (2012-2017), Office of the Somalia Auditor General did not publish annual reports.
“This is one reason for describing President Mohamud as a corrupt leader. During his first term of office, he tried to recover Somalia’s frozen assets. One of the lawyers his government had appointed to recover assets will stand trial for attempting to steal assets of Somalia” said Ali Musse Murjan, a retired Somali economist in Kismayo. The Financial Governance Report 2019 urged the Federal Government of Somalia to investigate the disposal of public assets authorised by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Hassan Ali Khaire, the former Somali Prime Minister allegedly blocked investigations recommended by Somalia Financial Governance Committee, which sees outcome of the investigations as a key indicator of good governance progress.
Puntland Post has found that data on fishing licenses granted to Chinese companies has not been included in the OAG reports for 2019 and 2020 fiscal years. “In July 2018, the Ministry of Fisheries signed an MoU on tuna fishing with the Chinese Overseas Fishing Association, on the basis of which it issued one-year licences to 31 vessels in September 2018. In November 2019, the Ministry of Fisheries renewed these licences for an additional year, as enabled by the MoU, although at an increased licence fee” the Financial Governance Report 2020 noted. Some federal member states have awarded fishing licenses, but, like the federal government, they have not clarified how money generated from fishing licenses gets used.
Expedient use of Somali federal institutions
There is a risk that President Mohamud may use the transparent federal institutions on account of the auditing reports to argue that his government will hold federal members states accountable for how they spend transfers from the federal government of Somalia. “A president who claims Mogadishu as his stronghold and whose record in office shows marked administrative improprieties should never be allowed to use federal institutions for personal or political purposes” said Ismail A. Bullaleh, a law lecturer.
What is more, the manner the majority of senators and MPs were selected raises questions about the legitimacy of the bicameral legislature. The progress made in public finance accountability risks being used as justification to sign natural resources agreements or adopt buccaneering policies to hand over the management of seaports to foreign companies. “Kleptocratic elites may band together again. President Mohamud should come clean on his political programme without forgetting he is being judged for his record before 2017” said Murjan.
© Puntland Post, 2022