Mogadishu, Somalia –
The unflinching grip of corruption on Somalia has been thrust further into the limelight following a revealing investigation into bribery across various regions of the country. The report, released recently, is the result of a detailed survey conducted across areas serviced by Hormuud Telecommunications, and it unveils disturbing statistics that suggest corruption is far more deeply rooted than previously believed.
The investigation was a response to growing scepticism over the Somali government’s commitment to addressing corruption, a sentiment fueled by the President’s dismissal of the Anticorruption Commission and the Judicial Service Commission in October 2022. The actions have sparked accusations of the government’s ineffectual posturing towards tackling corruption. Critics argue that such moves are more about public relations aimed at pacifying international donors than making genuine systemic changes.
The survey exposed an unsettling picture: bribe payments averaged more than 20% in the capital, Mogadishu, and 12% nationwide. It also disclosed that a staggering 93% of bribe-payers did not lodge any formal complaints, mainly due to the lack of clear avenues for reporting such incidents and a widespread belief that no significant action would be taken.
The Marqaati 2022 corruption report, released at the end of last year, already painted a grim picture with almost $6 million of international aid and over $4.5 million in tax revenues unaccounted for. This investigation adds weight to the concerns raised, highlighting a persistent trend of corruption in the country.
The controversy deepened when the Auditor General was replaced with a politically exposed individual of questionable qualifications in February 2023. The move was widely condemned and cast serious doubts about the impartiality of future audits. The arrest of some officials on corruption charges, seen as performative, did little to calm fears as the practices persist.
This expose presents an urgent call to action. The report’s findings underscore the need for a comprehensive approach to fighting corruption in Somalia. This includes establishing and empowering constitutional institutions for anticorruption that extend beyond ephemeral public relations measures. The above-mentioned study is a resource for policymakers to shape robust and effective strategies, with the aim of eventually freeing Somalia from the shackles of corruption.
As the government’s sincerity in handling corruption is increasingly called into question, the report is a potent reminder of the enormous challenges that lie ahead for Somalia. How the country responds to these revelations will be closely watched by the international community.
- In June, we reported that high-ranking government officials accused of corruption were allegedly escaping from Mogadishu in the wake of impending arrest warrants. Sources within law enforcement have suggested these officials were tipped off about their impending arrests, and measures were taken to ensure their safe exit from the capital city. The fact that these officials could abscond under such circumstances casts an alarming light on the integrity of the nation’s legal and law enforcement institutions.
- Last Thursday, we reported that the Attorney General of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Suleiman Mohamud Mohamed, has publicly disclosed the identities of 18 Somali government officials believed to be involved in corrupt practices. Nine of the 18 individuals accused have already been arrested, while the remaining nine were at large at the time of writing.
- On Friday, we reported that Abdulqadir Ilmi Ali, the then Director General of the Federal Government’s Immigration and Naturalization Directorate of Somalia (IND), announced his resignation. He expressed his scepticism about receiving a fair trial, highlighting his concerns about the lack of an impartial judiciary. He has publicly refuted the accusations and maintains his innocence.