Former finance minister of Qatar, Ali Sherif al-Emadi, will face trial over allegations of embezzlement, according to a statement by the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) on Sunday. Al-Emadi was arrested in May 2021, but little information has been released about his case. The QNA statement did not specify the number of others who will also face trial. However, the statement noted that evidence extracted from the case documents proved that the accused committed the crimes ascribed to them, which include bribery, appropriation of public money, abuse of office, abuse of power, damage to public money, and money laundering.
Although the QNA report did not provide details on how much money al-Emadi is accused of stealing, he was once a powerful figure in the Gulf Arab emirate. He rose to prominence as the current emir ascended the throne and after overseeing the transformation of Qatar National Bank into the largest lender in the Middle East. Al-Emadi also served as chairman of the bank, on the board of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and as president of the executive board of Qatar Airways.
Al-Emadi has not commented publicly on the case. According to Reuters, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has stated that the investigation is related to al-Emadi’s capacity as finance minister and not to his posts at the sovereign fund or the bank.
The case against al-Emadi underscores the government of Qatar’s commitment to rooting out corruption at all levels. The country has implemented several measures to combat corruption, including creating a National Anti-Corruption Commission, establishing an ombudsman’s office to receive complaints, and ratifying international anti-corruption agreements. The outcome of al-Emadi’s trial could set an important precedent in the country’s fight against corruption and serve as a warning to other high-ranking officials who might engage in corrupt practices.
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