18 co-ops referred for probe

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KUWAIT CITY, July 12: As part of the measures aimed at protecting shareholders’ funds and stopping fraud, the Cooperative Affairs Sector of the Ministry of Social Affairs referred 18 cooperative societies to the Public Prosecution last year. It also carried out 130 judicial seizures due to financial and administrative violations, and formed committees to investigate suspicions of usufruct and violation of the law, reports Al- Qabas daily. According to reliable sources, efforts are continuing to control the cooperative sector, and take strict measures to protect the public money. Meanwhile, the Kuwait Anti- Corruption Authority (Nazaha) recently held a workshop on “the internal audit methodology and its importance in strengthening the trends and governance of cooperative and community work”, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Community Development and a number of public benefit associations. During the workshop, the speakers affirmed the importance of implementing the governance system in cooperative work, and activating performance oversight to preserve the public money and protect shareholders’ rights.

The representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs – Director of the Department of Cooperative Control and Inspection Nawaf Al- Duwaisan – stressed the keenness of the inspectors in the ministry to monitor the performance of cooperative societies by activating the pre and post oversight mechanism. He explained that the ministry is gradually following up violations and observations on the performance of cooperative societies, and provides its own observations. Legal procedures are sometimes taken to the level of reaching the prosecution. Committees are formed to examine and investigate administrative and financial violations. In addition, Director of the Audit and Inspection Department at the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) Fajr Al-Roumi affirmed the authority’s keenness to hold workshops aimed at enhancing the values of integrity, transparency, and accountability, and combating corruption in a way that advances the performance of cooperative work. She explained that the cooperative work is voluntary in nature and is a a non-profit process. It aims to stimulate internal and external trade by providing consumer goods and food items, and preserving shareholders’ funds.

Governance based on correct procedures will lead to the development and sustainability of services, thus reducing the chances of trading in influence and positions, discovering fraud and administrative corruption, improving accounting, financial and administrative practices, and achieving justice and transparency of the information. Nazaha’s partnership with government agencies and civil society organizations comes as a continuation of the authority’s journey in activating its objectives towards encouraging civil society and community institutions of all kinds to play a greater role in raising community awareness and implementing the priorities and objectives of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2019-2024) to enhance integration between the public sector and civil society efforts in promoting integrity and combating corruption.

Al-Roumi praised the efforts of the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies in the current period, as it paid attention to cooperative training, which is one of the most important pillars of human capital development represented in the workforce, especially the national workforce. She concluded by stressing that the information that will be presented in the workshop came with the participation of specialists and those in the field from civil society organizations, which is one of the channels of support and guidance towards reform and to strive to achieve the desired goals that the sector aspires to achieve.

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