Hassan Sheikh: Somalia's payroll full of ghost workers

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The current payroll of Somalia is full of ghost workers, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has made the admission, noting that people have been defrauding the government by earning unjustifiably from some of the money which is being sent by international donors key among them World Bank.

According to him, almost two-thirds of the country's 5000 civil servants do not report to work and cannot be traced but they earn from taxpayers. He said the government will soon carry out an audit and expose the gaps which have led to the loss of millions of dollars annually.

The president said that only 1,500 civil servants report to work every day and added that the rest do not exist or they live out of the country and while abroad and never came to work, they are still paid monthly.

"They are thieves and their superiors who accepted this scheme are also thieves. They are simply stealing public money," he said.

Recently, the Auditor General exposed vulnerabilities within various departments which could not account for their budgets. However, several reports previously warned that lack of transparency and limited supervision could lead to donor funding ending up in private individuals' pockets.

In his own admission, the president, for instance, said a number of public officials have been travelling to Mecca for Hajj using taxpayers' money contrary to provisions of the Public Financial Management Act which lays down the foundation of government spending.

"These officials who stole the public money got dressed and went to the mosque with a robe and a turban on their shoulders. Others bought plane tickets with the money they stole from the government and travelled to perform Umrah or Hajj. It is not possible," Mohamud said.

Somalia, along with Syria, ranked next-to-last, scoring 13 on the CPI on a scale from 0 ["highly corrupt"] to 100 ["highly clean"] in Transparency International's 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perception of public sector corruption of 180 countries around the world.

There are weak systems in terms of the management of public resources and in many instances, public officials do not account for money allocated to their offices. The president insisted that his administration will try to fix the gaps for the sake of positive growth in public service.

GAROWE ONLINE

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