Mogadishu: in light of the recent events regarding the contentious report published without consultation or due process by some individual members of the finance committee of the House of the People, Benadir Regional Administration (BRA) categorically denies on reported allegations as these are contrary to the steps taken by BRA in good governance, transparency, accountability, and progress.
We also understand that the House of the People also discussed this matter on 24 November 2018 and rejected the totality of the report. Nevertheless, BRA would like to clarify the issues raised in the malicious report, as this happened when BRA implemented the first Benadir Financial Management Information System (BRAFMIS), which resulted in a significant increase in domestic revenue, better service delivery, and sound Public Finance Management (PFM).
The disgracefulness of this smear campaign waged by individual members of the Finance committee of the FPS is wholly unfounded. These allegations of corruption and mismanagement of public funds are not only obviously false but also malicious. This created unwarranted confusion for the public and our international partners.
Public Finance Management is a major focus of the current administration leadership since we come into office 10 months ago. We have over time invested in putting in place measures focused on ensuring highly transparent management tools and PFM guidelines of public funds and public resources. We did a top to bottom assessment of every department of BRA and understood where the gaps were. This gave us a starting point of where the immediate focus should be. Due to this small progress, we were able to offer services in 12 of the 17 districts in Benadir. Citizens can now obtain basic services at the nearest district office. The parliamentary Committee never troubled themselves in a fact-finding mission to BRA. They just simply took to the airwaves and social media to allege and publish politically motivated, unsubstantiated, uncorroborated botched report.
To address the most egregious allegations made about BRA in the Finance committee of FPS were as such;
1. BRA is alleged to have had deposits $16,556,504.75 for the period Jan-June 2018 in their central bank accounts (CBS).
BRA categorically denies this assertion and this figure is exaggerated in order to confuse public. The Committee could have simply asked us the correct amount as it is clear to our financial reports and bank statements from the Central Bank of Somalia. We challenge these individuals to bring forth evidence substantiating this claim. We welcome every scrutiny and probe from these individual members of the Finance Committee.
1. BRA is alleged to have no approved Budget.
This is false. It could not be further from the truth. BRA has an approved budget detailed and followed in everyday expenditures. Furthermore, no expenditure is approved without first going through the budget control office and approved in the system (BRAFMIS). This budget can be made available to the individual members of this committee if they so chose.
1. BRA Treasurer is alleged to have withdrawn 5.9 million USD from the Central Bank of Somalia during the period of January to June 2018.
This claim is misleading and deliberately politicized. Claimed funds are withdrawn by the treasurer went to pay for salaries, projects implemented such as job creation for youth, building roads, service delivery, etc. Since BRA does not have an automated payroll system it falls on the Treasurer to take the list of employees (hard copy and soft copy) to the Central Bank and its then transferred to the individual employee accounts. These individual members of Finance Committee of the parliament focused on the Treasurer withdrawals without verifying. Again, these individual committee members did not do their due diligence in basic accounting, rather focused on scoring political points.
1. BRA is alleged to have withheld 30% of the wages of every employee.
This is fictitious. BRA does not withhold an employee’s wages and compensation. We had to go back to 2015 to find those records. Where did these individual members of get this information? Again, it’s a behavior unbecoming of a member of Parliament especially these individual members of the Finance committee spewing false accusations.
1. BRA is alleged to have no procurement guidelines.
This is untrue again. Since this administrations term started 10 months ago, we proposed procurement guidelines that match the national procurement act of the FGS. This encouraged our donor partners to trust BRA with ongoing projects that track these processes.
As an administration, we will continue our strong and conservative financial management efforts that are cost conscious and reliable. This will cover the management of the public financial resources (Taxes & Fees Revenues) and management of incoming donor funds (EU funds) focused on improving service delivery to the people of Benadir Region. We are also putting more efforts into improving efficiency in general administration and management for increased consistency, performance, and individual accountability. This is expected to ultimately improve the efficiency by which the administration provides services to the people of the region.
Benadir Regional Administration will continue to coordinate closely with the Auditor General’s office and all the relevant authorities who have a legitimate inquiry towards a swift and thorough review and audit of administration’s operations. Moreover, ensuring that all public funds are accurately and transparently managed, as has been the case, and that all critical services to the people of the region continue to be provided efficiently and transparently.
We believe, Benadir Regional Administration, being on the forefront of accountability and transparency, as it continues to establish and strengthen the structures in place to foster the level of transparency and accountability required for public funds. The Finance committee of the parliament should use their power for good and not for political showmanship.