Inside Story

Where are Somalia’s missing millions?

As a leaked UN report blames leaders for unaccounted aid money we ask if there is political will to tackle corruption.

Leaks from a UN report say progress in Somalia, which marks 52 years of independence this month, is being blocked by massive corruption at the highest levels.

The report by the UN Monitoring Group says 70 per cent of money earmarked for development and reconstruction has disappeared.

The fingers of blame are being pointed at the offices of the president, the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, with the report blaming many officials of “pervasive corruption”.

The destiny of a new Somalia is in the hands of Somali traditional elders…Somalis are now more than [ever] conscious of their situation and they are really inspired by the changes in the Arab world.

– Abdurahman Abdullahi Baadiyow, a leader of the Islah Party

The UN report has called for corrupt leaders to face UN Security Council sanctions, including Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the president who was named as allegedly involved in corrupt deals.

It also said that foreign aid to Somalia “never reaches the central bank or the treasury”.

The government has angrily rejected the accusations saying they are against peace at a time when Somalia is moving from transitional government to an elected president.

The prime minister’s office calls the allegations “absolutely and demonstrably false”.

The leaked report comes as the mandate of Somalia’s transitional federal government draws to an end next month. Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991.

In this episode of Inside Story we ask:  Who is responsible for corruption in Somalia? And is there even the political will for good governance in Somalia in the future?

Al Jazeera’s invitation for a government representative to appear on the show was declined.

Joining presenter Laura Kyle to discuss these issues are guests: Peter de Clercq, the UN’s deputy special representative for Somalia; Abdurahman Abdullahi Baadiyow, one of the leaders of the Islah Party, which is the Muslim Brotherhood in Somalia, and also a presidential candidate.

“Beyond the transitional period there are very concrete ideas on setting up a joint financial accountability mechanism that will ensure the flow of resources both from outside and from within are best used for the public’s interest.”

Peter de Clercq, the UN’s deputy special representative for Somalia


  • Out of every $10 received by Somalia’s transitional government between 2009 and 2010, seven dollars are unaccounted for.
  • Back in May the World Bank said $131m in government revenues were unaccounted for from that same period.
  • The UN report says almost a quarter of government spending in 2011 – or more than $12m – was what it calls “absorbed”  by the office of the president, prime minister and the parliamentary speaker.
  • The report also says that a further $40m in government revenues in 2011 could be missing.