How corrupt officials steal in Somalia's largest airport
MOGADISHU - Somalia could be losing millions of dollars to unscrupulous officials from the Ministry of Finance and the country's Central Bank, court documents presented by prosecutors show, in a dramatic expose which could lead to the imprisonment of many officers.
A Banadir Regional Court heard on Tuesday that officials from the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance were using fake stamps and falsified documents at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, a strategy that has given them a leeway to walk away with millions of dollars undetected.
At the court, the prosecution insisted that the evidence in its possession clearly implicates the officers of what could shape a mega corruption scandal, pitting senior government officers, even as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud toils hard to curb graft.
“We have submitted copies of the documents found during the investigation, some of which were fake, while some of them had fake stamps on them which are not the ones intended by the Ministry of Finance to be used in the foreign tax office. serving foreigners,” Deputy Prosecutor Farah Abdirahman Jama told the court.
According to the prosecutor, one Abukar Mohamed Ali, a senior manager of the land tax officer of the ministry of finance at the Aden Adde International Airport, Mohamed Adan Abdullahi the manager of Central Bank and Mogadishu Airport, and Abdi Sodal, the cashier of the central bank at the airport, committed the said crimes.
The officials, the court was told, have also been engaging in money laundering by moving large amounts of money to and from their personal accounts. Within the period, the court also heard, the said officials went on undetected by misusing their positions in government to enrich themselves.
In one of the most disturbing revelations, one of the officials issued visas to foreigners but went on to divert the money to his personal accounts. In this process, the court further heard, the officers may have made millions of dollars, necessitating the decision to drag them to court.
Without proper institutions and tracking mechanisms, Somalia has perennially ranked poorly on the corruption index, raising questions about the commitment of the government to minimize graft and wastage. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has insisted that the country has an opportunity to rectify the past.