Two former officials from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture are facing charges of embezzlement of public funds in two of the cases before the court, and one of the defendants in all three cases.

The court, which heard prosecution witnesses on Monday, will reconvene to hear defence arguments in two of the cases on 21 March and in the third on 28 March.

The daily Ash-Sharq reported last week that authorities were investigating alleged corruption cases in which more than $270 million were misused.

According to the newspaper, the two former officials are suspected of having diverted funds allocated for building roads to build private villas and a residential complex.

The small gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar had already investigated corruption cases involving civil servants two years ago.