Mogadishu (Halbeeg News) – Somali parliamentary report has accused the country’s finance ministry of mismanaging 2017-2018 budget saying millions of dollars were unaccounted for during this time.
A parliamentary committee led by Ali Abdi Osman said $20 million which was supposedly to be carried forward from the 2017 financial year is unaccounted, with no proper documentation of expenses.
The 20 million USD was part of $50 million budgetary support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The Federal Government received $50 million from the Government of Saudi Arabia in 2017 and spent $30 million in that financial year, while the Ministry for Finance informed the Committee that (the remaining) $20 million would be carried forward to the 2018 financial year, that amount is not counted in the government’s revenue between January and August 2018,” the report reads in part.
According to the report, the government officials withdrew $2.5 million from Contingency Fund and used for personal needs such as overseas travel, purchase of bulletproof cars, and to offset personal loans.
The Committee report said Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh violated budget rules set by parliament including maintaining an account at the Ministry instead of remitting revenue to Central Bank.
World Bank contribution to the Recurrent Cost Financing (RCF) for salaries of employees was not covered by the civil service payroll amounted to $7.9 million by August 2018 out of expected $28million.
Out of three bilateral donors, only Turkey fulfilled its pledge of $20m. Saudi Arabia did not deliver its $30million pledge while Qatar paid only $3.5 million out of $10 million.
The Committee also accused the ministry of failing to collect taxes from remittance companies & banks; instead, Ministry collects money from companies using illegal methods. $1.5m allocated for emergencies such as droughts, floods was spent on trips, repair, rents, hospitality and hotels.
Parliamentary Committee asked Auditor General to audit and establish how the $20 million donation from Saudi Arabia in 2018 was used since it was not reflected in the 2018 budget.
Meanwhile Minister of Finance, Abdirahman Duale has dismissed report from parliamentary committee alleging misappropriation of millions as “untrue”.
In an interview with VOA Somali, the minister noted his ministry has all the documentations for expenses saying MPs didn’t inform him about the report before the release.
“We will continue to abide by the best of values to serve our people. We will continue to be transparent & accountable. We will do what is right & can move our nation forward. All Somalis have a duty to rebuild their country & they must fulfil this sincerely,” said Minister Beileh.
The committee also noted mismanagement of funds at the Mogadishu regional administration saying Banaadir Regional Administration officials withdrew $6.5 million from the city treasury but it is not clear how the amount was used and for what purpose.
According to the report, the revenue from khat has amounted to $8.8 million by August 2018 out of the expected $16m in the 2018 financial year.