Ali Al Obeidi
Ali Al Obeidi Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: A special Kuwaiti court, in charge of handling cases against government ministers, had sentenced a former health minister to seven years in prison on corruption charges, the first such verdict in the Gulf country, media reported Wednesday.

The Ministers Court also issued similar sentences on Tuesday against a former undersecretary at the Health Ministry, an incumbent senior official and an agent of a US firm in the same case.

The court ordered them to pay 10,000 dinars each to stay out of prison until a top court looks into the rulings.

The four convicts were also ordered to repay a total of 243 million dollars in connection with squandering and seizing public money.

Some Kuwaiti newspapers identified the ex-minister as Ali Al Obeidi.

The verdicts drew praise from some Kuwaiti lawmakers.

“It is a historic ruling,” said MP Rakan Al Nasef.

“It can herald a new phase in prosecuting ministers and senior officials for wrongdoing,” the lawmaker told Al Rai newspaper.

In recent months, there have been accusations over alleged corruption including wasting of public money in Kuwait.

Last November, hundreds of Kuwaitis protested outside the parliament against the then government that resigned later and purported state corruption.