24th September 2020
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Somali court sentences official to 18 years in prison for stealing Covid-19 funds

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A vendor in Mogadishu sells fruit to a customer standing at a physical distancing signage. PHOTO//Feisal Omar/Reuters

A court in Somali’s capital, Mogadishu on Monday sentenced four government officials to jail for “stealing” between $42,000 and $45,000 public funds meant for Covid-19 emergency response.

The court sentenced Abdullahi Hashi Ali, the Director-General of the Ministry of Health to 9 years in prison and asked that he pays a fine of $2,366.

The Ministry’s Director of Administration and Finance, Mohamud Bule Mohamud, was also sentenced to 18 years in prison and a fine of $2,366.

The Head of Finance for Health Promotion Programme at the Ministry of Health, Mahdi Abshir Mohamed was sentenced to 12 years in jail and to pay a fine of $2,366.

The head of finance at the Malaria and HIV/AIDS Department was sentenced to 3 years in prison. Bashir Abdi Nur will also pay a fine of $1,183.

The four are not entitled to bail but have been given the right to appeal the sentences within 30 days.

In July, the African Development Bank $25.1 million to Somalia to mitigate national and regional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the UN and its partners raised concerns about gaps in geographic coverage of testing of COVID-19, where some districts had no confirmed cases due to lack of testing capacity.

Somalia has confirmed 3,265 with 2,396 recoveries as of 21 August but the number of deaths has remained at 93 for several weeks. Most cases are 20 to 60 years old, and 74 per cent are male.

Last year, the Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International listed Somalia as the most corrupt of the 180 countries polled.

Originally published by the Daily Nation, Kenya

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