Somalia: Puntland's Interior Ministry accused of fraud in UN-funded program


GAROWE, Puntland - The Ministry of Interior, Local Government and Rural Development of Somalia's northeastern Federal State of Puntland is facing graft and corruption scandal, Garowe Online reports.

Confidential Emails leaked to Garowe Online showed massive fraud by the Ministry's Director General, Mohamed Ali Nur “Juba” in a UNICEF-funded Birth registration program in Puntland  in 2015.

The 11th October of 2017, UNICEF sent an email to Puntland's Minister of Interior, Abdullahi Ali Hersi Tima-Adde, notifying him that it hired a Kenyan-based audit firm to probe into the corruption charges.

After months of financial audit, Baker Tilly Merali’s emailed an audit report to the Director General seeking comment on the 5th and 6th sections of the report regarding how the funds have been spent.

In the report, the BTM required for confirmation from the DG that UNICEF has given $213, 720 to the Ministry of Interior in cash to fund the vital birth statistics, which $23, 817 of the funds were missing.

The investigation finds no evidence to prove how the funds was used. Juba has committed the fraud before being removed from the office of the planning department of the Ministry. 

However, the DG has refused to collaborate with the investigators and responded to the emails and calls to his office in Garowe on 21st Oct 2017, prompting UNICEF to fully suspend the program in late 2017.

Last February, the United Nations Children's Fund which works with the Interior Ministry in many important fields has requested the Minister to assign new official to complete birth registration project.

But, the UNICEF's demand was unsuccessful as the sitting Director General accused of the corruption is still trying to be in charge of management of the lucrative program, according to the leaked information.

The UN agency provided funds to the Ministry late 2017 to carry out a mission to register 5,000 under the age of 5 years in Puntland, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and local vaccination teams.

The cash was intended to cover the cost of the work; cars, staff, inspections, hotels and pay students at Universities tasked with the recording of the date collected by the teams on the ground.

The enormous work has been stifled by unchallenged corruption in the funds. Similarly, a complaint has been filed by the local government was due to do this work, accordance to the Puntland Constitution.

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