Somalia jails four more officials over corruption as crackdown intensifies
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Banadir regional court convicted four more senior officials for corruption and stealing public funds, just a few days after top officials from the ministry of health were sent to prison after five months of prosecution.
The Federal Government of Somalia seems it has intensified war on graft following complaints from members of the public and the latest development could restore confidence from among international lenders, some of them who had contemplated slash donations due to growing cases of corruption.
On Thursday, the court slapped four officials with prison terms ranging from one to ten years, following evidence that was tabled by the prosecution. This is one of the most followed trials in the history of Somalia, a country struggling with insecurity.
Those convicted include Guled Mohamed Ibrahim, who served as administration and finance boss at the ministry of fisheries, who was sentenced to 10 years and fined $2,366. Further, he was ordered to surrender $137,907 he stole.
Ali Sheikhdon Abdi, from General Accountants office, was sentenced to 9 years jail term and fined $3,549 besides being ordered to pay back $58,555 he stole. Also sentenced was Aweys Hassan Omar, a finance officer at the ministry of information, who was slapped with 1 year and six months in jail and fined $1,183.
Khadar Aweys Hassan, an owner of a private company, was sentenced to 3 years in jail and slapped with $1,183 fine. This was the second series of convictions touching on various departments where it is believed that the country lost millions of dollars.
Early this week, a number of officials were also hailed. They include Director of Health Abdullahi Hashi, Mohamud Bule who was serving as Director of Administration and Finance, head of accounting Mahdi Abshir and head of Malaria and HIV/Aids Bashir Abdi. They have been standing trial since May when the matter was first discovered.
In the historic ruling that shows Somalia's commitment in the fight against corruption, the judge sentenced Hashi to 9 years in jail with a fine of $2,366 while Bale was slapped with 18 years with a fine equivalent to that of Hashi. The fines will be paid instantly without appeals, the court said.
Further, the Head of accounting Mahdi Bashir was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $2,366 as well while the head of Malaria and HIV was slapped with 3 years and fined $1,183. This was one of the records of prosecution within the history of Somalia.
Several international partners among them the United States, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the UN have been making donations including money to the war-torn nation, whose health infrastructure was ranked among the worst globally.
The funds, officials said, were meant to help improve quarantine facilities within the country due to surging rates of infections besides helping to revamp other departments. To date, Martini Hospital remains the only quarantine facility within Mogadishu and has since been overwhelmed.
Somalia has recorded slightly over 4,000 COVID-19 positive cases with almost 95 deaths. Officials insist that the figure could be a little bit higher given that the country doesn't have elaborate testing abilities and that dozens could have died unnoticed due to struggling healthcare infrastructure.