KUWAIT CITY, Aug 17: Finally after 585 days of marathon court sessions, the Criminal Court Sunday issued a verdict on the Ministry of Interior Hospitality case; a verdict that would serve as a deterrent for not only those involved in this crime, but for all the thieves of public funds, the corrupt and money launderers who are awaiting verdicts in similar cases, reports Al-Qabas daily.
The court sentenced Brigadier General Adel Al-Hashash to 30-year imprisonment for facilitating the misappropriation of the Ministry of Interior funds in the hospitality and expenses items. It also sentenced the 22nd defendant Ayman Saleh (fugitive) to a jail term of similar period.
The court sentenced Sheikh Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Maher Al-Baghli, and Abeer Maarafi to two- year imprisonment each for the crime of unintentional error, and ordered a stay on the execution of the sentence for a period of three years, provided each defendant signs a pledge to commit to good behavior in the future, accompanied by a bail of KD 5,000.
It was made clear in the ruling that Sheikh Ahmed Al-Khalifa was sentenced for the charge of negligence, and he was acquitted of the charge of misappropriating public funds.
The court issued prison terms ranging from 7 to 17 years against 13 defendants, and acquitted four other defendants.
Regarding the imposed fines, Al-Hashash received the lion’s share, as the total sum that the court obliged him to repay was KD 126 million. The rest of the defendants were fined KD 142 million, and the companies and hotels were ordered to repay more than KD 40 million dinars.
The reasons for the ruling sounded alarm bells about the negligence and nonchalance in the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance. It affirms the need to take more measures to protect the public funds and prevent tampering with the state’s capabilities.
Sheikh Ahmed Al-Khalifa negligent… but no money entered his accounts
The reasons behind the verdict clarified that the case papers and documents were devoid of any evidence of money entering the accounts of the third accused Sheikh Ahmed Al-Khalifa and his family members. The evidence of committing a significant presumption of what was attributed to him was devoid. The only proven action against him is merely signing the payment forms based on the letters of the first accused, attached with financial claim lists and fraudulent invoices. It stated that the penalty for which the court convicted him was negligence and breach of public office duties.
This is how the polluted money was laundered!
The court clarified that the idea to launder the polluted money came through the attempts of hotel owners, institutions and companies to hide the source of that money and present them in the form of legitimate money in order to enable Al-Hashash to benefit from it, according to the criminal scheme, away from the consequences of the original crimes.
⦁ 30 years each for Adel Al-Hashash and Ayman Saleh (fugitive)
⦁ 17 years each for Walid Al-Sanea and Abdullah Al-Hammadi
⦁ 15 years each for Hamad Al-Tuwaijri and Abdullah Al-Mashari
⦁ 10 years each for Iqbal Al-Khalfan, Nur Al-Din Al-Katatni, Muhammad Tariq Al-Kazemi, Ghusoon Al-Khaled, Ali Munir, Abdullah Harouni, Muhammad Ballut, Hassan Abbas, and Radwan Mahmoud
⦁ Seven years each for Ahmed Abdul-Aziz and Osama Saleh.
The four defendants who have been acquitted are Mohammad Ali, Salah Al-Din Al-Aqabi, Mohammad Ali Al-Kazemi and Ahmad Al-Khaled.