A regional Court in Mogadishu, Somalia has jailed four senior officials from the Ministry of Health for corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
According to online sources, the officials who have been convicted had been in custody for close to three months with the Health Ministry Director General Abdullahi Hashi Ali sentenced to nine years in prison with a $2,366 (approximately Ksh240,000) fine.
Apparently, the officials diverted money meant to cushion citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic among other donor funds.
Others are Mohamud Bule Mohamud (Director administration and finance department) who was given an 18-year jail term while Mahdi Abhir (Head of Accounting) and Bashir Abdi (Head of Malaria and HIV/AIDS ) were sentenced to 12 and three years respectively.
“We have listened to this case at least 14 times, and these officials were found guilty of corruption and public money theft,” the court said.
A regional court in #Mogadishu has concluded a high profile case against nine top officials at @MOH_Somalia on corruption and misappropriation of funds meant to fight COVID19 pandemic. Director General Abdi Hashi has been found guilty, sentenced to nine years in prison. #Somalia pic.twitter.com/LJlp16eVWg
— Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) August 24, 2020
The officials were reportedly arrested in April following allegations of misappropriation of the Health Ministry funds including donor aid to fight HIV/AIDS in the country.
According to the Court,the officials violated articles 241 and 363 of the Penal Code. 241 makes it punishable for between three to 10 years for a public office holder involved in diverting public resources for personal use.
Somalia media reports indicate that five other Ministry of Health officials were found not guilty and released.
Currently, COVID-19 cases in Somalia have surpassed the 3,000 mark with the deaths are close to 100.