Somaliland World Bank Projects and their Fiduciary Office are on the verge of failure

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This article is only a constructive criticism for the World Bank in order to respond effectively to deliver their projects successfully and to monitor their projects as well as the fiduciary office that they have established. This message is from the association of whistle-blowers in Somaliland, and as the weaknesses of the world-bank funded projects were obvious earlier, we think that this problem is severe and can only be solved if a team from the Bank pay a visit to Somaliland to oversee and monitor the progress so far, and to make a deep independent investigation of these realities.

 

The whole idea of failures of the projects and the fiduciary office lies with the fact that it is designed differently from that of the other jurisdictions – Puntland and Somalia. The recruitment processes of the projects were unclear and corrupted while the fiduciary office became within the dead body of the government with its involvement of full-time government staff as a seconded staff instead of hiring professionals to devote their time separately from the office and outside. In the fiduciary office, the staff are still running the new fiduciary office tasks parallel to their other responsibilities. Some of them neglected their other office commitments while others are half committed in between the Fiduciary office and other office tasks. The remaining are fake staff which take only the very allowance that the ministry is providing. But it was better to hire most of the team members from the Accountant General Office and the rest from the outside job market.

 

Currently the project offices within the MDA’s are inefficient because of less capable staff who are chosen through corrupt recruitment processes. They are taking too much money which is too far from even the UN staff salaries and they did nothing about the intention of the projects they are involved in. Only one project staff was advertised but then managed corruptly similar to the other projects which the staff were selected directly to sit the office without even an interview.

Coming to the fiduciary office, the reality is that is too worse even, because it is structured with fake organizational structure and fake staff who are just taking a very low government allowance. Only five of them are involved in managing the fund of the six world bank projects. They are subdivided in these categories.

· The managing director of the office is a corrupted staff which is also the Deputy in the office. He is poor in terms of accounting and finance, as he took a fake 2-year bachelor degree from the so-called Hope University in Hargeisa. He hardly speaks English language and even with minor understanding of simple English. He is too busy with making corruption and with other office tasks including some other donor funded projects like the JPLG.

· 2 director of departments, one with Multilateral and the other one with the Bilateral. The Multilateral director is selected based on clan and rarely he can write a single paragraph in English. The Bilateral director is also poor with little knowledge in accounting and finance, he is an economist and he is too busy with the other government tasks as he is the chief controller of the national expenditure. The bilateral directorate is fake as Somaliland is not recognized and rarely it can get bilateral funds in the near future, so those that are appointed are just only getting the very low allowance freely.

· 3 officers which worth to replace those poor top officials in the fiduciary office are just working under them. 2 of those took Masters in Public Administration specializing in PFM from Ethiopia and currently they are students of the Chartered certificate in accountancy which the world bank is funding. The other guy took his studies in Hargeisa with MBA in Accounting.

· The remaining 4 staff in the fiduciary office are just assigned to take the allowance without working in the office. They are selected without merit.

This scenario made the fiduciary office to pull back the sophisticated processes of the world bank by maintaining traditional physical registers which were even identified by the donors as the major setback of the reform in the other government systems. So the fiduciary office walks several steps back to the business as usual of the government poor systems whereas the intention was to bring best practice for a better reform.Little data is being captured digitally in the integrated systems which results in an onerous, incomplete and poor financial reporting.

 

Even the contracted firm for the Ministry of Finance (Earnest and Young) is reluctant to work with the ministry in terms of reforming the current outdated PFM systems and to benchmark best practice so that it can manage not only the government funds but also the bank funded projects successfully.

 

The Audit firm (KPMG) found out that the systems of the audited projects out of the six projects that are running are very very poor and that the project offices and their fiduciary office in the Accountant General’s Office need an urgent and prompt reform.

 

How it could be possible that a fiduciary staff with a salary of 500 USD and less to process a high scale salary of between 4,000 and 7,000 USD for the Project specialists and to run smoothly for processing other expenditures. They are neglected by the government and it is a must the World Bank to respond. When we asked the specialists they responded that the fiduciary office staff are reluctant because of lack of motivation and incentive. Even they told us that they become jealous of these high scale salary from the World Bank and that is they always frustrate to do simple tasks for the project offices.

 

All these issues can only be solved with the involvement of top officials from the bank and the support from the Director General of the Ministry of Finance and the new knowledgeable Deputy Minister which served 5 years as a Deputy Minister of National Planning and Development and was an instrumental in the preparation of the first National Development Plan (NDP) of Somaliland.

 

Some of the articles for the bank’s earlier scandals and accusations can be accessed on these links;

 

Somaliland: Corruption And Mismanagement At World Bank Funded Public Finance Reform (PFM) Office – (http://www.somalilandcitizen.com/2017/04/24/somaliland-corruption-and-mismanagement-at-world-bank-funded-public-finance-reform-pfm-office/)

Somaliland: The scandal surrounding the 1st Round of the World Bank Grants (SBF) – (http://www.qurbejoog.com/somaliland-the-scandal-surrounding-the-1st-round-of-the-world-bank-grants-sbf/)

Somaliland: SPSDF Accuses the SBF of Corrupt Practices – (http://www.somalilandsun.com/contact-us/36-in-depth/in-depth/2569-somaliland-spsdf-accuses-the-sbf-of-corrupt-practices-)

Finally, if the bank didn’t respond to these urgent issues and allegations, its projects will end up on failure and the public at large will bring their attention and accusations similar to the ones that were on the Somaliland media earlier. So later the donors will channel their funds with the comparable but efficient ones like the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) which is managed by an international company Mott McDonald which is safe and effective.

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The right of citizens to report wrongdoing is a natural extension of the right of freedom of expression, and is linked to the principles of transparency and integrity. All people have the inherent right to protect the well-being of other citizens and society at large, and in some cases they have the duty to report wrongdoing. – Transparency International