NO ONE is above the law, as emphasized by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad on several occasions. Because of this, the arrest of the former minister of Defense and minister of Interior Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah and the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense Jassar Al-Jassar represents a significant turn of events.
These two are involved in the “Army Fund” case and have been referred to the State Security Department by the order of the Ministers Court. This is a huge indication of the commitment of the higher leadership to fight corruption and render all corrupt individuals to watch their back.
There is no place to hide for the corrupt, whether old or young, a Sheikh or a citizen, a current minister or a former minister, or an ordinary civil employee.
This droplet is the beginning of a major storm against corruption which the Kuwaitis accept with great satisfaction because it constitutes a window of hope to get out of the tunnel of corruption that continues to exhaust the state and deepens its financial crisis due to the regulatory negligence that led some officials to dare to violate the sanctity of public funds and abuse their positions to serve their interests with the impression that they are above the law.
For years, talk has been going around in whispers, and many times at the loudest voice about financial crimes in the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense, which are supposed to be above suspicion because they form the security fence to protect the homeland and maintain the citizens’ security and rights. Because “we are all children of a village and everyone knows everyone”, the corrupt is known and reveals himself from the first moment he took office.
There was no bribery or corruption scandal without strong indications … like there is no smoke without fire. Unfortunately, there was no serious accountability to stop the abuse of public funds and institutions at some point, which made the citizen almost lose his confidence in the state.
This situation made everyone selfishly work for themselves, which was why corruption became rampant in all the state institutions. However, the glimpse of hope came through the Ministerial Court as an indication that the hour of accountability has run its course.
Perhaps this procedure came late. If the state had taken the path that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took about three years ago, it would have saved a lot on itself.
The Saudi Crown Prince did not wait for a long documentary session to deal with the scourge of corruption. He summoned about 360 people to the Ritz Hotel in Riyadh, and presented evidence of their corruption accumulated for decades, which account for ten percent of the country’s budget since 1980 that have been going into the pockets of the corrupt.
In a few weeks, he was able to recover a hundred billion dollars, in addition to another hundred billion that the relevant agencies in Saudi Arabia are still collecting.
Yes, the move of the Ministerial Court is very encouraging, but it must be followed with other steps, the first of which is to hold accountable those who failed and squandered public funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What scandals revealed in this regard can be considered as the greatest evidence of the fact that corrupt people are exploiting everything for their benefit, even if it was a pandemic … This is the most horrific type of corruption.
In fact, there is legalized corruption that is hidden, which is increasing the cost of projects by four or five times, as agreed upon by the corrupt. This costs the state many millions, but no one is held accountable for it.
Unfortunately, kingpins of deals only leave after they become fat from eating usury. However, the big step taken by the late Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad was on point when he revealed several dubious deals signed in some ministries. This led to the opening of this big file, which we hope will be a start and that eventually Kuwait will recover from the corruption epidemic that is almost killing it.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times