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US, UN concerned over corrupt Somali transition

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he is seriously concerned about delays in the selection of the new parliament.



Nairobi: World leaders from Africa to the US and Europe said they are growing increasingly concerned that intimidation and corruption are marring the selection of a new Somali parliament, a task still unfinished less than a week before the government`s UN mandate expires.

The US Embassy said in a statement today that it shares the concerns of the African Union and UN over "multiple credible reports of intimidation and corruption" in the selection of the country`s new 275-member parliament.

James Swan, the US representative for Somalia, continued with his list of concerns: "Inadequate representation of women and in some cases reports of former warlords who are being nominated by their communities."

Since 2004, Somalia has been represented by a UN-approved leadership structure called the Transitional Federal Government that mostly controlled only small parts of Mogadishu.

The government has accomplished little, but because African Union and Somali troops pushed al-Shabab militants out of the capital last year positive momentum is building.

But the UN mandate for the government expires Aug. 20, and Somali leaders still must nominate a parliament that will in turn vote in a president.

That looming deadline, and the messy process of naming a parliament, appears to be making world leaders nervous about Somali power brokers` ability to make decisions that are in the best interest of the country.

A report commissioned by the UN finalised in July said that systematic misappropriation, embezzlement and outright theft of taxpayer funds have become a system of governance in Somalia.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said yesterday that he is seriously concerned about delays in the selection of the new parliament.

Ban, through his spokesperson, said recent reports of intimidation and violence should not be allowed to threaten the conclusion of the Somali government`s transition.

An EU representative, Alex Rondos, echoed the concerns.

"In the run-up to the end of the transition, the responsibility remains with the selected Somali leadership to rise to the challenge of delivering this process fairly and transparently and must understand that, ultimately, they are personally accountable for their actions."

Somalia has been the world`s most lawless country since 1991, when the president was ousted and warlords began in-fighting.

PTI

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