‘Do more to curtail corruption’

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First report of ‘Nazaha’ shocking

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 28: At a time when the country needs concerted efforts to speed up the wheel of achievement while preserving transparency and the rule of law, the first report of the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) came as a shock, as it revealed the failure of some state agencies in combating corruption, and highlighted the lack of commitment for initiatives aimed at protecting public money, reports Al-Qabas daily. The report, which focused on Kuwait’s strategy to enhance integrity and combat corruption, indicated that the country is among the top countries in the world that has been implementing reform, and it showed improvement in eight components, which are – establishing businesses, obtaining building permits, obtaining electricity, registering property, obtaining credit, protecting minority investor rights, and cross-border trade.

Despite the indicators of reform and progress, the authority’s first report revealed the failure of some government agencies in implementing initiatives related to its axes, especially the government sector. It highlighted that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) did not make any progress in its initiatives, and its achievement was zero. The report contained a survey conducted with a group of Kuwaiti citizens, 92 percent of whom agreed that bribery is increasing in the state, and 26 percent revealed that they were asked to pay bribes. It indicated that public services in Kuwait involve many aspects of corruption, especially the exploitation of some positions, as many companies indicated that they are usually asked to provide some form of bribes to facilitate access to services.

The report explained that the main challenges in the structure of the government apparatus and the governance of service provision are the basis for the country’s low positions in the indicators of integrity and transparency compared to other Arabian Gulf states. During the past few years, Kuwait has achieved progress in most of the international indicators related to good governance and combating of corruption among the ten indicators analyzed, as it recorded progress in nine indicators between 2016 and 2020. There are 643 declarations of financial receivables that have not been submitted, 94 of which belong to arbitrators in the Ministry of Justice, 363 of the members of the councils of sports bodies and cooperative societies, and 186 of the directors of departments or their equivalents, as well as 2,965 late submissions.

The number of reports on illegal gains that were received by Nazaha amounted to 14, one of which was referred to the Public Prosecution, while four were kept aside. The State Audit Bureau made 41 percent progress in its initiatives, 29 percent by the Supreme Judicial Council, and 23 percent by the Ministry of Interior. Also, 64 percent of the initiatives of Kuwait’s strategy to enhance integrity and combat corruption are focused on the prevention track, as the track requires greater effort in the next stage to remedy the delay in 33 percent of the initiatives that are not compatible with action plans within this track. Also, 22 initiatives were found to have slight deviation from the plan but can be remedied, and 12 initiatives were considered incompatible and off-track with the possibility of non-compliance with the timetable or substantial risks to achievement.

The public services in Kuwait face many aspects of corruption, especially the abuse of official positions. Many companies indicated that they are usually required to provide services or bribes in exchange for easy access to services. The report highlighted that the government and the governance of service provision are the basis for the country’s low ratings compared to other Arabian Gulf states.

It indicated that six new or updated laws and legislations have been issued and put into practice in order to enhance the implementation of the United Nations Convention, adding that there are challenges in the index of press freedom, and property rights, according to Kuwait’s assessment for 2019 in the extent to which goal No. 16 of the sustainable development goals is achieved. The report stated that, according to the national strategy, the country’s assessment of corruption perception indicators must improve by two points during 2022, three additional points in 2023, and two additional points in 2024 so that the country’s assessment will improve from 40 to 47 points during the implementation period.

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