Somalia: Head of Central Bank Resigns Citing Corruption

Published: 05 November 2013


Somalia's first female central bank governor has resigned citing corruption allegations, Somali media outlet Garowe Online reports. Yussur Abrar resigned after only seven weeks in office, making her the second central bank head to resign within four months.

"From the moment I was appointed, I have continuously been asked to sanction deals and violate my fiduciary responsibility to the Somali people as head of the nation’s monetary authority," Abrar wrote in her resignation letter to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. She went on to say that meddling in the central bank prevented it from functioning honestly.

Abrar had refused to sanction a contract over frozen government assets with American law firm Shulman Rogers, a company known for drawing the ire of the UN due to an alleged conflict of interest. She declared that the contract would put "frozen assets at risk and open the door to corruption".

Shulman Rogers denied the UN allegations and defended the deal with Somalia. A spokesman said that the company was considering releasing the details of the contract.

According to the Financial Times, Abrar's resignation is likely to panic international donors who pledged billions to rebuild Somalia. The Somali-born Abrar, hailed as "a long-time public finance expert" by Garowe Online, has a long history in insurance, banking, and financial consulting. She worked in top positions at Citigroup and AIG after she received a Bachelor's degree and MBA from Oklahoma State University in the United States.

A government spokesman speaking for Somali President Mohamud said that the president was committed to ending corruption and was sad to see Abrar's departure.

Reportedly, Abrar sent the letter on October 30 from Dubai. The Financial Times cites a donor official as saying that Abrar was "scared for her life and so unlikely to return to Somalia".

Somalia is known for corruption following its brutal civil war. The nation tied for last place along with Afghanistan and North Korea on the 2012 Corruption Perception Index.