Somali president hits back at UN graft charges

August 18, 2012 14:46


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MOGADISHU - Somalia's president dismissed a UN report that accused senior leaders of corruption and defended his record as he campaigned for re-election in a landmark vote.

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who took over as head of a Western-backed transitional government in 2009, also promised he would step down if he lost - in an apparent answer to some critics who are concerned he could be planning to cling on to power.Mired in conflict for more than two decades, the Horn of Africa state is on the cusp of a presidential election that will end a succession of United Nations-backed transitional governments, in place since 2004.

Western and regional states have pumped in millions of dollars in aid, and sent African troops to help crush al-Qaida-affiliated militants. But the United Nations' Somalia monitoring group in July said it had found that, out of every $10 received by the transitional federal government (TFG) between 2009-2010, $7 never made into the state's coffers.

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