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UPDATE 1-Somali government appoints interim central bank governor
November 28, 2013 / 10:31 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Somali government appoints interim central bank governor

(Adds appointment approved by ministers)

NAIROBI, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Somalia’s government appointed a former governor of the central bank to his old post on a temporary basis on Thursday in a bid to steady an institution rocked by rows over corruption.

Two governors have left in quick succession this year. The first was accused by U.N. investigators of corruption, which he denied. The second quit and fled Somalia, saying she was under pressure to sign off on shady dealings.

The government has denied any corruption, but the departures have undermined donor confidence in the bank whose probity is seen as crucial to the rebuilding effort.

Bashir Issa Ali, governor under a former transitional government who also held a top post in Somalia’s commercial bank, was asked to take up the position on an interim basis, Finance Minister Mohamud Hassan Suleiman told Reuters.

“The appointment of the interim governor has been approved by the council of ministers,” Suleiman said by phone after the meeting.

He said Ali would take up the post in the next few days.

“He is widely experienced,” Suleiman had earlier said, adding Ali was a man of integrity who began his banking career in the 1960s and had held several top posts.

The minister did not explain why Ali had not been given the post on a permanent basis.

Western and other donors, which have poured aid into Somalia to help prevent an Islamist militant resurgence, have pressed the government to clean up its finances. Diplomats said the central bank saga has hurt confidence in the government.

Yusur Abrar, the first woman governor, resigned and fled Somalia a month ago after less than two months in the post, citing pressure to authorise improper deals, accusations the government denied.

She had taken over from Abdusalam Omer, who left in September after holding the post since February. A U.N. monitoring group report linked him to irregularities in central bank withdrawals, a charge he and the government denied.

Western nations and others in the region see Somalia’s reconstruction as vital to preventing the Islamist militant al Shabaab group from regaining ground after being pushed out of major urban areas by an African peacekeeping force.

The areas the group controls are still seen as a launchpad for militants with more global ambitions and targets. (Reporting by Edmund Blair and Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Richard Lough and Elizabeth Piper)

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