Senegal: TI decries corruption in delivery of aid to Somalia

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - Transparency International (TI) on Tuesday called on the Somali government, donor agencies and humanitarian agencies to take critical steps to address corruption in the delivery of aid to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches those most in need in southern Somalia.

The global anti-corruption organisation, in a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal. said that corruption was deeply entrenched in Somalia’s economy and society.

''The country holds the lowest rank on Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index,'' the statement noted.

According to TI, Somalia’s ongoing conflict and complex emergency have displaced millions from their homes.

''The country remains weakened by years of consecutive crises: famine, poor rains and harvests, drought and other natural disasters. Nearly five million people are in need of life-saving assistance and livelihood support.

''Yet, the delivery of aid is complicated by insecurity, conflict and corruption. Corruption risks exist across the entire humanitarian programme cycle, from head offices in Nairobi, Kenya, to operations in southern Somalia,'' TI said in a new report.

The report Collective resolution to enhance accountability and transparency in emergencies: southern Somalia, developed in partnership with Humanitarian Outcomes, is the first independent review of corruption in southern Somalia’s humanitarian sector.

Over 120 in-depth interviews and community consultations were said to have been conducted to identify corruption risks and produce a set of recommendations on how to mitigate those risks in the future.

''Corruption affects all sectors in southern Somalia – and humanitarian assistance is no exception. But this is not a reason to reduce aid funding, rather it is a call to strengthen measures to mitigate the risks and ensure that the resources are used for their intended purpose: to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable,'' remarked Samuel Kimeu, Executive Director of Transparency International, Kenya.

According to the statement, the study shows that corruption risks exist in the identification of local partners, sometimes through collusion between international and national agency staff, and in the awarding of contracts to private contractors and humanitarian agencies. The values of contracts can also be inflated to include kickbacks in order to gain contracts.

The negotiation of conditions for access to affected communities, as noted in the Secure Access to Volatile Environments research study, often requires some form of concession or payment, which can include paying at checkpoints and paying unofficial taxes, amongst others.

This form of corruption tends not to be discussed within or between agencies, which means decisions can have unintended impacts on other aid agencies and over the longer term.

The selection and targeting of aid recipients, one of the most commonly acknowledged areas of risk and corruption within the humanitarian chain, can take place at many levels such as by favouring geographic areas, favouring family and friends, creating so-called ‘ghost’ beneficiaries, and ‘taxing’ beneficiaries.

The study also showed that monitoring, and the choice of monitoring mechanisms, has become one of the key stages in the programme cycle at which leverage can be exerted for personal or organisational gain, with pressure to write reports that are more favourable than their findings suggest.

This contributes to an organisational culture in which accountability and integrity are not prioritised, which in turn may influence attitudes to corruption.

''Some examples of good-practice among individual agencies exist such as detailed analysis of the operating context, increased scrutiny of private contractors and better communication with the local population. Yet more comprehensive and coordinated action across all stakeholders is needed. Anti-corruption efforts need to be re-doubled across the board,” Kimeu added.

TI then made the following recommendation:-
The Somali government should develop and implement strategies and policies to increase the integrity of humanitarian assistance.

It should also improve humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in southern Somalia.

Meanwhile, to the donor agencies, TI recommended that they should take concrete measures to protect humanitarian action from political interference and increase the impartiality of assistance.

That they develop shared approaches to managing risks which may encourage transparent reporting.

For the humanitarian aid agencies it was recommended that they should be open, principled and supportive in addressing corruption pressure and threats and actively encourage staff to report irregularities.

They should also integrate corruption risk analysis in risk management processes and develop, and review existing, monitoring tools and mitigation measures, among others.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 13Dec2016

13 december 2016 15:45:15

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