Graft Threatens To Break West’s Ties To Somalia’s President

Graft Threatens To Break West’s Ties To Somalia’s President

Written by Draze Jorgic | From Reuters

A resignation letter by Somalia’s central bank governor sent from Dubai has thrown Western donors into a quandary over supporting a government they need to fight al Qaeda’s local allies.

Governor Yussur Abrar quit after only seven weeks in the job, alleging she had been pressured to accept arrangements she believed would open the door to corruption.

With one email, she sucked President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud into a dispute over the recovery of frozen Somali assets from abroad, embarrassing foreign donors who have pledged billions to rebuild his shattered nation after two decades of chaos.

Divisive clan politics have bedevilled Somalia throughout its long civil war and more recent insurgency by the Islamist militants of al Shabaab, the local franchise of al Qaeda.

Western governments, determined to avoid another military involvement like in Iraq and Afghanistan, threw their support behind Mohamud, an Indian-educated former university professor and civil rights activist. They also strongly backed U.S.-educated Abrar, a senior international banker, when she became Somalia’s first female central bank chief.

Now the two have fallen out. Mohamud denies wrongdoing and Abrar provided no documentary evidence to support her complaints in her Oct. 30 resignation letter.

Nevertheless, the allegations shocked Western diplomats and United Nations officials who have put so much faith in the president to restore Somalia’s stability.

Nicholas Kay, the U.N. Special Representative to Somalia, described Abrar’s resignation to the Security Council as a “body blow” to donor confidence. It underlined the need for stronger management of public finances, he said.

Read more at Reuters