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Wednesday , March 22 2023

‘Illicit financial flows hit $46b’ – Kuwait ranked 36th

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KUWAIT CITY, March 9: According to a report issued by the Global Financial Integrity Foundation, the volume of illicit financial flows to Kuwait during the nine-year period from 2009 to 2018 was about $46 billion through trade with all global trading partners, and about $20 billion through trade with 36 developed countries. This has led Kuwait to take the seventh place in the Arab world and 36th place globally, reports Al-Rai daily. The report explained that the total illicit financial flows to Kuwait during the years between 2014 and 2018 amounted to about $30 billion.

The top five Arab centers recorded amounts estimated at $261 billion. Although the report of the American non-profit organization Global Financial Integrity Foundation ranks 134 countries including 14 Arab countries, it highlighted that its estimates do not live up to reliability, but it is assumed that the eyes of the local counterparts will be opened to track these funds and reveal the suspicions related to them because of the indicators they carry and the strong data. In this regard, regulatory sources said illegal flows from trade do not necessarily mean the existence of money laundering and terrorist financing operations, as they may be funds obtained, transferred or used illegally, or they indicate the transfer of acquired funds of illegal activities and tax evasion.

They explained that the methodology for the estimation of illegal financial flows depends on two methods — calculating the value of illegal financial flows on the basis of the gap between the available sources of funds from external debt and the net value of foreign direct investment, and the uses of these funds for increasing reserve assets and financing the current account deficit. It also depends on the amount of decrease in the value of exports and the amount of increase in the value of imports as a result of price manipulation.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Undersecretary for Financial Affairs at the Ministry of Education and the Chairman of the committee for preparing responses to the observations of the State Audit Bureau Yousef Al-Najjar called on all sectors of the ministry, its observers, its departments, and the general administrations of educational zones and schools to facilitate the tasks of the State Audit Bureau’s audit team, and provide them with all the information and data they need, as well as facilitate their performance of the tasks assigned to them as per the Law No. 30/64 on the establishment of the State Audit Bureau, reports Al-Rai daily. Al-Najjar highlighted in a bulletin that the team consists of six members, and is headed by a chief auditor.

According to an educational source, there is a noticeable decrease in the notes recorded on the Ministry of Education for the current fiscal year, similar to last year during the COVID- 19 pandemic. Many of the observations were corrected, and the papers and documents supporting them were submitted, especially after the assistant undersecretaries of the sectors were included in the response preparation team. The most frequent observations in the bureau’s books are the unlawful disbursement of amounts to employees for salaries and bonuses, and the weakness of the collection procedures, indicating that all the amounts spent are not written-off, and the employee’s debt is recorded to be deducted from his monthly salary, citing the reason of weak procedures, due to the failure to activate the procedures for automatic linking between educational districts and the ministry’s headquarters. He explained that the weakness of some procedures usually causes delays in the arrival of decisions from work centers, which calls for disbursement before these letters reach the administrative sector.

There is a joint committee between the financial and legal sectors in the ministry to follow up and collect the ministry’s debts, as well as collect the money paid to some female employees due to delay in the arrival of maternity-leave decisions, as they return again to the financial sector and are calculated from the moment the decision was issued with retroactive effect.

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