Somalia: Puntland's Finance Minister blamed for corruption
GALKAYO, Puntland - The Minister of Finance for Somalia's northeastern Federal Member State of Puntland, Abdullahi Sa'eed Aarshe has been accused of massive corruption, Garowe Online reports.
Puntland's Mudug regional Accounting General, Barkhadle Aden Muse has announced his resignation on Sunday, June 24, over what he claimed “swelling” levels of corruption in the state's Ministry of Finance.
Speaking at a press conference in Galkayo city, Muse said he decided to quit following pressure and challenges from the Minister, whom he accused of embezzlement in tax revenues from the region.
The immediate former Accounting General said the Minister of Finance has committed a massive corruption with the "consent" of Puntland President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali "Gaas" whose tenure expires Jan 2019.
"A month after assuming office in August 2017, the Minister called me at his house in Garowe for a meeting, along with his secretaries and he asked me for $10,000 of bribery per month," he added.
Additionally, Muse added that the Finance Minister has corrupted the construction project of Galkayo customs office, where he submitted $94,000 to the government while the funds spent was only $87,000.
On 16th of this month, again Aarshe asked the Auditor General for $53,000 to bribe the Parliamentary Financial Committee for facilitating the endorsement of the annual budget from the Puntland state parliament.
To make his accusation stronger, he has presented during the press conference a Dahabshiil Bank statement indicating $155,000 cash purportedly credited to the personal account of the Finance Minister in a lawful way.
For rejecting the illegal paying-off demands, the Auditor General said he came under increasing pressure about his job that finally forced him to step down and leak the information publicly to the local media.
-The Minister's response-
For his part, the Finance Minister, Abdullahi Sa'eed Aarshe held a press conference on Sunday in Garowe, the state capital to deny to the graft claims made by the former Mudug regional Accounting General, Barkhadle Aden Muse.
Aarshe told the reporters that Muse has been removed from office on 17th June, prior to his resignation for embezzling $99,000 meant to pay the salaries of the Puntland soldiers in the region.
"An investigative Committee has been formed to probe into the corruption case of the sacked Accounting General," said the minister, adding that everything will be clear when the inquiry is completely finished.
However, Muse becomes the first official to reveal corruption within the current government in Puntland since the incumbent President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali "Gaas" took office in January 2014.
-Dahabshiil statement on the charges-
Dahabshiil, the largest funds transfer company in Somalia has on Monday, June 25 released a statement in response to the accusation of the former Accounting General regarding the bank information.
The firm has rejected the bank statement as "false and baseless" and called for an action against Muse for making a counterfeit letter with Dahabshiil logo and emblem which could hurt its customers' trust.
"We inform Somalis that the letter posted on social media the 24th June 2018 regarding an account allegedly belonging to Puntland Finance minister, H.E Abdullahi Sa'eed Aarshe which bears the number QRD00412 is 'baseless lies'," read the statement in part.
Lastly, Dahabshiil has assured all its clients that the information about their accounts and assets at the bank are in safe hands and will be kept secret as always.