Somalia names new bank governor after graft charges

xeydar November 28, 2013 Comments Off
Somalia names new bank governor after graft charges

Somalia appointed a temporary governor for the central bank Thursday, the third official in just over a year designated to head an institution mired by corruption allegations.

Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said the cabinet had approved the appointment as interim governor of Bashir Isse Ali, who has already served in the post under past governments. The appointment also comes amid political infighting between the president and prime minister.

“After two decades of civil war our financial institutions were not fit for purpose,” Mr Shirdon said in a statement. “It will be up to Mr Ali, alongside our international partners, to continue to implement the programme of reforms that are needed in our financial institutions.”

In September, Abdusalam Omer stepped down as governor amid accusations by United Nations experts that the bank had become a “slush fund” for political leaders with millions of dollars siphoned out, claims that were dismissed by the government.
Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said the Cabinet had approved a new central bank head.
Earlier this month his successor Yussur Abrar resigned complaining she had been pressured to sign off on corrupt deals, claims the government also denied.

The government, which took power in August 2012, was the first to be given global recognition since the collapse of the hardline regime in 1991, and billions in foreign aid has since been poured in.

Widely praised as it took power, the government is now split with the prime minister facing a confidence vote in parliament this week after he resisted President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s demand that he resign.

The precise cause of the power struggle is unclear, but politicians have pointed to wrangling over alleged corruption, personal loyalties as well as Somalia’s complex clan politics, where each community expects to be represented in the corridors of power.

Sources close to the office of the prime minister claimed the president had barred all central bank signatories — including Mr Shirdon — from withdrawing cash amid widespread allegations of graft.

Ali, who studied in the US and Nairobi, headed the central bank between 2006-10 under the notoriously corrupt previous administration.

He also served as deputy-governor under the hardline rule of Siad Barre, who was toppled in 1991, as Somalia descended in all-out civil war.

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