MOGADISHU, Somalia, 28 October 2021 – The Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) has submitted an official complaint against bribe soliciting by Hirshabelle State officials to the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) of the Federal Government of Somalia and awaits IACC to launch a full and independent investigation into the case.

Bribery and corruption are damaging to democratic institutions and hampers Somalia’s state-building. IACC which is the national anti-corruption body has an important role to play in combating these practices.

SJS legal adviser, Avv. Abdirahman H. Omar said the complaint was prompted by last week’s incident in Jowhar, Hirshabelle State, where police and government officials demanded bribes from SJS officials conducting journalists’ training activity in Jowhar city. After repudiating the officials’ solicitation of bribery, SJS officials were arbitrarily detained.

“Somalia is on recovery and so its federal member states. Corruption will shatter the anticipations of the people towards the state formation. It exhausts local and international efforts that tend to aid the rebuilding of our country,” Avv. Omar said. “Exposing corrupt activities and risks that may otherwise remain hidden, and keeping the public sector honest, transparent and accountable is a key legal and moral obligation,” Avv. Omar said.

“We also encourage other organisations to come forward and report the fraudulent behavior they have witnessed. We must be faultless so say that concealing corruption and bribery solicitation by officials will make the governance system rotten and dysfunctional. Simply, if you report corrupt government officials and hold them accountable, you are helping Somalia governance system. You are not destroying it,” Avv. Omar adds.

“Somali Federal Constitution, the Hirshabelle Constitution as well as the Independent Anti-Corruption Act provide citizens to report corruption practices within the public officials and seek accountability. SJS is a national union of journalists which maintains its zero-tolerance policy for bribery and corrupt activities. That is why we are taking our citizenry legal obligations to tackle corruption behavior,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “We hope that IACC authorities and top Hirshabelle State leadership will act swiftly and take legal measures towards our complaint, investigate the allegations in our letter addressed to them and tackle corruption under their watch.”

Marking 14th August as the National Anti-Corruption Day, Somalia formally joined the international and regional laws of anti-corruption namely: the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention (AACC) as well as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). This has been a milestone for Somalia’s anti-graft efforts.

SJS further calls on all government agencies and the international community members to assist the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission in the realisation of fulfilling its national mandate to end graft in the Horn of African nation.

As stipulated in Article 13 of the UNCAC, we urge active role of civil society organisations and media in combating corruption is to call on Somali Federal Government and its Federal Member States to increase transparency, improve public access to information and to promote public contributions to the government decision-making process.