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KUWAIT CITY, March 7: According to reliable sources, the delay in issuing 250,000 civil identity cards (Bitaqa) is due to a gang tampering with the Public Authority of Civil Information (PACI) deliberately at the behest of one of the PACI officials, reports Aljarida daily. The sources explained that the delay in issuing civil ID cards for expatriates is paralleled by unscrupulous measures to extort a sum of KD 50 from those who desperately need the civil ID at a time when civil IDs are issued for citizens and their servants within a few days in order not to attract heat on this crisis.
This is happening during a time in the 21st century when the technology train is moving at full speed, and in a country where technological applications have multiplied to facilitate transactions, and despite the loud voices of everyone on the need to eradicate corruption.
The sources went on to explain that the mastermind of that gang manages a group of security personnel in the PACI’s building who negotiate with the expatriate concerned to obtain a bribe from him and deliver it to the official. This official is aware of the extent of the weakness of this category. For this reason, he was keen to exclude the civil ID cards of citizens and their domestic workers from the delay; otherwise he would have been exposed early.
The waiting period for the families of expatriates for their cards exceeded nine months from the date of paying the service fees. The residencies of most of them expire before they receive their cards despite paying KD 5 for the issuance fees. The constant excuse given by the members of this gang is that there is pressure on the service, which forces those desperate to pay bribes to get their civil ID cards through the backdoor.
The spark of the idea of delay and exploitation of crises started with the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, which seems to have not ended yet in PACI, despite the presence of large quantities of cards ready for printing. The authority sent delegations to visit Poland, the headquarters of the parent company, to obtain the raw materials. However, waiting is still the master of the situation, and extortion of expatriates is still ongoing until further notice. In parallel, observers believe that this neurotic formation is not the disease itself but rather the symptom.
What brought the situation to its current state and prepared the institutional soil for the germination of this poisonous plant is the lax prestige of the state and the lack of oversight over officials, especially with regard to groups with wide wings that never take a no for an answer. Observers believe that the heresy of extortion and receiving bribes is only the beginning of a fire, which if expanded will burn morals, institutions and gnaw at the rules of society that distort Kuwaiti institutions before the irreversible happens.