Donated funds to Somalia missing

June 1, 2012 at 5:11 PM
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 1 (UPI) -- About $130 million donated to the Somali interim government is missing, raising questions on how the country is spending money, officials say.

The World Bank said large sums of money donated to Somalia's transitional government weren't accounted in 2009 and 2010, the BBC reported Friday.

The World Bank report didn't make specific allegations but it didn't rule out corruption as a possible explanation for the missing funds.

"There is a discrepancy in what comes in and there's a lack of accounting of how money has been spent," the report's author, Joakim Gundel, said. "So that opens naturally a big question mark for sure."

Part of the problem is that the transitional government has no real accounting system in 2009 and 2010, the period examined by the World Bank.

The revelation of the missing funds came as hundreds of Somali lawmakers met with leaders of other nations in Istanbul to seek funding for the long-term reconstruction of Somalia. The country is to elect a president by Aug. 20 after having no effective centralized government since 1991.

"I hope it [the conference] will keep up the momentum, particularly toward a successful and legitimate political process in Somalia, toward making sure that development money can be spent properly and transparently in Somalia ... And we'd like to see, of course, the continued success of African Union forces," U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague told the BBC.

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