Covid19 Funds: Somalia Send Govt. Officials to Jail
As Nigerians Demand Breakdown of Expenditure/Disbursement
The Covid19 Pandemic has meant different things to different countries and their citizens. Rich or poor, the impact of the Virus on the people and economies have been devastating.
As countries ease imposed locked down in phases, citizens are asking government to account for funds donated by their citizens or sent in by foreign donors.
In this regard, a Somali court on has sentenced four government officials to jail for having a hand in the theft of public funds meant for Covid-19 emergency response.
The Banadir Regional Court, which covers crimes committed in Mogadishu and surrounding locations, found the four guilty following a case that drew public scrutiny in the use of Covid funds in the country
While it is not clear how much each of them stole, the Somalian Ministry of Health said in April that between $42,000 and $45,000 had been spent in unclear circumstances.
A written verdict read by the chief judge of the regions stated that the court found the officials guilty of committing corrupt acts and sentenced them to different terms as well as imposed varying fines.
The judge announced, “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 $2,366).”
Mohamoud Bulle Mohamoud, 52, the ministry’s director of administration, had been sentenced to 18 years in prison and also ordered him to pay a fine of $2,366.
Mahdi Abshir Mohamed, 30, the head of a project called Wacyigelinta Caafimaadka (health awareness), was sentenced to 12 years in jail and will 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 $1,183.
In Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, Human Rights lawyer, activist and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has written a letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, demanding information on how the N338.6bn COVID-19 fund was spent.
In the letter titled, ‘Request for Detailed Information on Beneficiaries of N338.66bn Coronavirus (COVID-19) Intervention Funds Disbursed across Various Sectors in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria’.
The letter read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to an online report relating to the disbursement of the sum of the sum of N338.6bn as COVID-19 intervention funds to beneficiaries across Nigerian states.