The Federal Government of Somalia on Thursday named Ahmed Isse Gutale as new Auditor General, replacing Mohamed Ali Afgoi during the weekly cabinet meeting.
The appointment of an Auditor General by the Somali cabinet is a dangerous move that could erode the trust that citizens have in federal institutions. Appointing inexperience AG who has never seen bookkeeping task let alone worked in financial institution is tantamount to putting one’s thumb on the scale when it comes to government activity, as they would have no real checks and balances in place to ensure accountability and transparency.
An Auditor General should not be appointed by the cabinet, but rather by Parliament, in order to ensure the position remains independent and maintains a critical oversight role over government activity and spending. This decision taken by the cabinet with the recommendation of President Mohamoud is as indicative of his intentions to misappropriate national assets for his own benefit, thereby undermining public trust in their ability to serve the population and carry out their responsibilities competently.
The Auditor General is an independent oversight body whose selection and appointment should be done exclusively by the Parliament, as they are not part of the executive branch and therefore must be held to higher standards of impartiality, objectivity and accountability.
When a decision to appoint someone to such an influential position is made by the President Mohamoud through so called Cabinet without any input or consultation from the legislature, it is a clear sign that they intend to exercise complete control over government resources and ultimately use them for their own personal gain.
It is extremely disheartening that there are no political opposition groups in Somalia that oppose the president’s immoral and unconstitutional appointments. A lack of regard for the law by Somalia’s leadership has put the country on a path to self-destruction.
What remains to be seen is if the World Bank and IMF will grant Mr. Ahmed Isse Gutale the required credentials to enable them to collaborate with him.