The Director General in the Ministry of Health Abdullahi Hashi Ali has been sentenced to nine years in jail and banned from holding public officer.
In a rare ruling that has also seen three other senior officials slapped with various jail terms, Banaadir Regional Court also fined Ali $2,366.
The Court sitting in Mogadishu delivered the harsh verdict against the Health Ministry officials following their arrest in February over allegations of misuse of funds in the Ministry. The funds included donor aid to fight HIV/AIDS in the country.
The Court found Ali guilt of violating articles 241 and 363 of the Penal Code. Article 241 makes it punishable by between three and ten years in jail for a public office holder to divert public resources including money and property for personal use.
Article 363 on the other hand criminalises the use of public seals, signatures and stamps for personal profit.
The Court also delivered sentences of between five and 18 years for three other senior officials in the Ministry.
Mohamud Bulle Mohamed, the finance director in the Health Ministry was condemned to 18 years behind bars with a fine of $2,366. Mohamed will also no longer be allowed to serve in a public office.
An accountant tasked with managing funds for promotion of health programme Bashir Abdi Nur was sentenced to 12 years in jail and $2,366. He was also banned from serving in public office.
The fourth defendant Bashir Abdi Nur, an accountant in a HIV/AIDS project got three years, a fine of $1,183 and a ban of five years from public office.
The verdicts are exceptional in recent years in Somalia in what is seen as an a milestone in the war against graft. Five other suspects were acquitted.