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‘We deserve some credibility’
With a score of 40 out of 100 points, Kuwait has been ranked 85th internationally and 6th in the Arab world on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International.
In 2003, we were ranked 35th internationally, but our ranking fell to 85th in 2019. Is it possible this was because of our full transparency in publishing all corruption cases in the press and social media, and because of the fully elected parliament? It is just not possible that we are at the bottom among the Arabian Gulf States, and barely above Algeria and Egypt.
Of course we have been reporting on daily basis all kinds of cases of theft and bribery at every government level and in almost every departments. Sums ranging from $60,000 to more than $3 billion were being stolen from Interior, Defense and Labor ministries from top ranks to mid-level managers and undersecretaries. In one case, the accused was caught stealing and selling sands and rocks worth more than $3 billion. Most of accused are living abroad and hopes to return home to face justice.
In my opinion, our daily reporting and the exposure of the social media has caught the attention of the global media, as well as the follow up by the local press, have resulted in Kuwait’s global ranking in the Corruption Index increasing from 35 in 2003 to 85 recently.
Undoubtedly, we are exposed but not in line with the rest of the countries that are not allowed to report such crimes especially if corruption reaches top and high government ranks, or the ruling family. In our neighboring countries, such a thing is not allowed, and is considered taboo.
This is the difference between us in Kuwait and the rest of the Arab world. We are definitely not proud of our record or our ranking; nevertheless, the accused, corrupt and thieves are known and under investigation. For this, we should get some credibility.
One question that the Transparency International has to answer is – why Kuwait has been ranked 85th in the world despite our free press, social media and the free elected parliament, as well as the daily reporting, while the countries that lack freedom of press, democracy and transparency have been ranked better than Kuwait? We feel there is something wrong. We hope the same organization is not corrupt too. Are we not entitled to full explanations and full transparency?
By Kamel Al-Harami Independent Oil Analyst