Positive Financial Impact Seen After Forensic Audits in Somalia

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The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Somalia has today unveiled the results of forensic audits conducted from March 8, 2018, to April 20, 2023. These comprehensive audits have uncovered significant financial irregularities and embezzlement within several key government agencies, marking a critical step towards greater financial transparency and accountability in Somalia.

The forensic audits were launched following a compliance audit in 2020 for the fiscal year 2019, which identified suspicious activities across multiple government sectors. The in-depth investigation spanned three years, rigorously examining the financial activities of various departments.

A total of 22 officers were accused by the Office of the Attorney General. Among them were 15 officers from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, 3 officers from the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, and 4 officers from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Eleven of these officers have been convicted of criminal activities, receiving prison sentences ranging from 1 to 9 years. Additionally, several individuals have been barred from government employment for five years.

Significant Financial Discrepancies Uncovered

The audits revealed substantial discrepancies in revenue collection and deposition:

  • In the work permits and visa extensions sector, a total of US $33,370,260 was collected, but only US $12,437,690 was deposited into the Treasury Single Account. This left an alarming US $20,932,570 unaccounted for, indicating significant embezzlement.
  • In the passport services sector, the audits found that of the US $41,804,998 collected, nearly US $4,976,951 was embezzled.

These findings underscore the urgent need for stricter financial controls and oversight within Somali government agencies.

Revenue Increases Post-Audit

The forensic audits have led to a significant increase in monthly revenue for government services:

  • The average monthly income from visa extensions rose from US $160,419.67 to US $439,045.00 after the audits.
  • For work permit services, the average monthly income increased from US $43,476.89 to US $358,400.00.

These dramatic increases highlight the effectiveness of the forensic audits in identifying and rectifying financial mismanagement.

Positive Impact on Financial Governance

Commenting on the findings, the Auditor General of Somalia stated, “The forensic audits revealed that out of the US $33.37 million collected from work permits and visa extensions, only US $12.44 million was deposited into the Treasury Single Account. This means over US $20.93 million was embezzled, highlighting the urgent need for stricter financial controls. The discovery of over US $25.9 million in embezzled funds is a clear indicator of the scale of financial mismanagement we have been able to address through our forensic audits.”

The increase in revenue has empowered the Treasury Single Account to maintain government employees’ salaries without the need for additional support or loans starting from July 2023. The audits have also clarified the legal responsibilities of all authorized officers and their representatives, ensuring better management and oversight of government properties.

A Call for Vigilance and Robust Financial Oversight

The findings from the OAG’s forensic audits emphasize the critical need for ongoing vigilance and robust financial oversight. By recovering millions of dollars in embezzled funds, the OAG is ensuring that these resources are redirected to their intended purposes for the benefit of the public.

“The figures uncovered in our forensic audits highlight the critical need for ongoing vigilance and robust financial oversight. By recovering millions of dollars in embezzled funds, we are ensuring that these resources are redirected to their intended purposes for the benefit of the public,” remarked the Auditor General.

The Office of the Auditor General of Somalia remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability within government operations. These forensic audits not only uncovered substantial embezzlement but also paved the way for improved financial practices across various government agencies, marking a significant step forward in the fight against corruption.

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