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111 officials fail to declare their assets – Face legal action

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 31: Up to 111 officials have failed to disclose their financial assets as scheduled or have abstained from making the disclosure, Chief of the Public Anti-Corruption Authority Abdulrahman Saleh Al-Namash said on Saturday.

These cases have been examined closely and referred to the competent investigative authorities, namely the public investigations authority, to take legal action against the non-abiding officials, Judge Al-Namash told KUNA on Saturday. Moreover, the authority has taken legal procedures, as stipulated by the relevant laws, against those who disclosed their assets late or those who have no done so at all. He advised all persons, subject to the assets’ disclosure regulations, to abide by the timetables to spare themselves punitive action.

These persons can get help from the authority either via the internet, the phone hotline or by visiting its headquarters. If documents and files distributed by the General Secretariat of the National Assembly as content of the agenda for Tuesday session is anything to go by, it could signify the first real crisis and disagreement between the executive and legislative authorities.

The reason is that an aspect of the documents contains a report from the State Audit Bureau that indicts the government for lack of seriousness in protecting the public fund! A source said that the bureau communicated the indicting message in a letter to the acting chairman of the concerned committee MP Adel Al-Sar’awi for onward transmission to the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanim, so it is likely to be part of deliberations as an incoming letter on Tuesday.

The bureau accused the government of failure to respond to studies prepared since 2010, although the Parliament issued a decision on March 11 to discuss reports from the bureau over violations at various public institutions and mandated the government to present a report in that regard within two months. The two-month ultimatum expired on May 15 but the bureau is yet to receive the report.

The source declared that the bureau believes that failure of government in responding to the studies, in spite of the recommendations there in, reflects that it lost its significance as the channel for monitoring the rate at which public funds are protected. He indicated the government has not been showing enough signs of taking necessary procedures to deal with the issues at hand even after expiration of the ultimatum.

Meanwhile, a report issued by International Transparency Organization recently classified Kuwait in the category of critically dangerous in terms of lack of transparency as indicator of suspicions of governmental corruption in deals for the purchase of weapons and defense equipment, reports Al-Rai daily.

The report titled ‘The Index of Combating Governmental Corruption in Defense Deals’ included a descriptive chart that placed Kuwait in the bottom of the defense transparency ladder at the regional level. Kuwait received an ‘F’ along with some other Arab countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Yemen.

Tunisia is the only Arab country that received a ‘D’ while countries like United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran have been placed in the ‘E’ category. According to this report, the governments in the Middle East are involved in deals for buying weapons worth billions of dollars annually but the lack of transparency in these deals indicate serious corruption risks. It also indicates that the armies of these countries are not efficient or qualified enough to face these risks, which in turn is a real threat to the security and stability of the Middle East.

By Raed Yousef and AbdulRahman Al-Shimmeri Al-Seyassah Staff and Agencies

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