IN early December, one of the local Arabic newspapers – Al-Anba daily – had published a news that brought joy to our concerns. This is because we felt our government is also against corruption and is determined to fight it wherever it is found. According to this news article, the Criminal Security Sector completed investigations against over 100 citizens during a period of three weeks.
These investigations focused on those who obtained the higher education certificates and were in the process of presenting them to their employers in order to obtain several financial benefits.
These investigations were referred to the Public Prosecution and Criminal Investigations Department. Those who were involved were summoned and charged with forgery of official documents and attempt to obtain financial benefits fraudulently from the state using such certificates.
The Criminal Security Sector received from Ministry of Higher Education a new list with names of individuals who are believed to have obtained their higher education certificates fraudulently.
Sources privy to this issue confirmed to the daily that those involved include Kuwaiti civilians and military personnel who were in the process of submitting their certificates to Ministry of Interior in order to enroll as specialized officers.
When questioned, they admitted to having obtained these certificates through intermediaries and presenting them to their employers. A large number of these certificates were obtained from the provisional universities in Egypt and other Arab universities.
When we read this news, we were delighted as we realized the government’s seriousness in fighting corruption. Unfortunately, this delight died two weeks ago when the government quickly retreated from dealing with this issue.
To be honest, what happened in last Tuesday’s parliamentary session was a shameful retreat, as the government refrained from voting in favor of the motion concerning this enormous file of not only fake university certificates, but also forgery of Kuwaiti citizenship, which is the most valuable and precious document in our hands.
We heard from reliable sources the figures of those forgers, who are partners in citizenship “by force”. The first to announce was the current National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim when he was an MP. At that time, Al-Ghanim revealed that the number of residency counterfeiters was 400,000, which is a baffling number on all levels because it constitutes more than one-third of the total Kuwaiti population of 1.4 million.
All this took place under the knowledge and blessing of our well-guided government. The proactive MP Dr Bader Al-Mulla told us that the former minister of Interior Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah, who was dismissed a month ago from his position, had naturalized six thousand people through ministerial decision and not through decree. This issue needs investigation, accountability and retribution.
However, based on flimsy justification, the government did not vote, claiming that the reason is due to differences in viewpoints of MPs concerning this matter.
What is the government’s business with the viewpoints of the MPs in this regard? The reason to vote against this issue is known to everyone, which is the forgers and dual citizens constitute a large proportion of their voters. This is how the government made us feel, which unfortunately means smiley face on some people and harsh face on others, given that the government deals with sensitive public issues with clear selectivity and double standards. Truly, it is a government of the people and others.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil