Somalia’s new prime minister, Hassan Ali-Khaire, said he is mobilizing his government to tackle corruption and vowed to make the fight against misconduct a non-negotiable principle in his administration.
Speaking at an official handover ceremony from the outgoing finance minister, Mohamed Adan Ibrahim “Farketi”, to the new minister, Abdirahman Duale Beyle, Khaire expressed his concerns about the need for Somalia to be governed on transparency principles.
“I and the president will never accept public property embezzlement, and we will crusade against those involving corruption,” he said. “Where there is a corruption, there will never be an achievement.”
For nearly two decades, Somalia has been among the world’s most corrupt countries and on the top of the list of the corruption watchdog Transparency International.
Nepotism, favoritism, bribery, the public fund and aid embezzlement has been a commonplace across all sectors, making many citizens to start believing that corruption is a normal way of life.
Prime Minister Khaire warned his new cabinet members about corruption.
“You have been trusted with the public tax, and you must avoid all kinds of corruption. Let us eradicate that sick mentality,” Khaire said.
Somalia is an aid-dependent nation. Locally, the government receives meager resources from taxes on import and export goods at Mogadishu’s seaport and airports, but experts say most of the revenue is stolen.
“It is a shame that Somali government could not pay the salaries of its staff members and security forces while it could have some source of income. I think the reason is mismanagement of the public funds,” Khaire said.
Declaration of assets
On Thursday, holding their first meeting, Prime Minister Khaire told his new cabinet and other public servants to declare their assets as a part of his government’s anti-corruption effort.
“The officials for public offices will submit their assets report to the prime minister and they will be periodically revisited to make sure they are free of corruption,” Somalia’s information minister, Abdurahman Omar Osman, told VOA Somali.
“The main aim of the declaration of assets is to prevent corruption and to increase transparency and the trust of the public administration,” Osman said.
Alongside this effort the new Somali government is struggling to assert its authority across the country as it deals with a devastating drought and terror from militants.