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Somalia court sentences Health ministry boss, 3 other officials to up to 18 years in Jail over theft of COVID-19 funds

Somalia COVID-19 funds theft: Four Ministry of Health officials in Somalia have been sentenced to up to 18 years in jail over theft of COVID-19 funds.

The four were the director of finance at Ministry of Health, head of accounting, director-general and head of malaria and HIV/AIDS programme who were sentenced to 18, 12, nine and three years in jail respectively.

The four were found guilty on Monday, August 24, by the Banadir Regional Court which covers crimes committed in Mogadishu and surrounding locations.

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The case arose in April 2020 after it emerged some health officials had diverted money meant for COVID-19.

Although the court documents released on Monday did not show how much was lost or swindled by each of the suspects.

“The court sentenced Abdullahi Hashi Ali, 61, the director-general of the Ministry of Health, to nine years of prison [and ordered him to pay] a fine amounting to Somali Sh 59,170,000 (about 1,986.47 Euro),” read the court ruling.

Mohamoud Bulle Mohamoud, 52, the ministry’s director of administration, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and also ordered to pay a fine of 1,986.47 Euro.

Mahdi Abshir Mohamed, 30, the head of a project called Wacyigelinta Caafimaadka (health awareness), was sentenced to 12 years in jail and asked to pay a fine of the same amount.

The fourth convict, 34-year-old Bashir Abdi Nur who heads the ministry’s malaria and HIV/AIDS department, was sentenced to three years in prison and asked to pay a fine of KSh 127,811.

The convicts were not entitled to bail but were allowed to appeal the sentences within 30 days of their sentencing.