ACCORDING to a fable, a crow and a hoopoe disagreed over a bottle of water, as each claimed its ownership. They therefore resorted to the king of birds, and the latter said, “Bring your evidence so that I can rule over the issue”.
Each presented weak evidence that could not be relied upon, and this led the king to say, “These proofs are not sufficient for the purpose; but I have decided that the water bottle is for the hoopoe”.
The hoopoe responded quickly by asking, “If the evidence is insufficient, on what basis did you issue your judgment?”
The King of Birds replied, “There is a proverb that says – I hope to be honest like hoopoe – so I depend on your reputation for honesty”.
The hoopoe then replied, “I would like to preserve my fame, and therefore I will give up the water bottle to the crow.”
In the case of defending public funds and combating corruption, how many hoopoes do we have in Kuwait? Can the Bird King, which here is the “Nazaha”, embarrass the liars? How many officials can be honest with his arguments and proofs?
Unfortunately, over the past years, the country experienced scenarios that can be compared to a Mexican series. A scandal hardly erupts until there is a greater corruption that ends up being absent between coils of flimsy arguments, or at best they are referred to investigation committees where a gravestone is erected for it with the words “Insufficient Evidence” written on it or “Save the file due to lack of proofs”.
Meanwhile, there are many talks and evidence about bribery, money laundering and contracts being contrary to specifications. All this is proven by facts, but no one moved a finger. Even if they did, they either scattered ashes in the eyes or cleaned up the record of those involved in order to start anew in plundering public funds.
This is what happened with the files related to roads, flying gravel, the “electricity emergency”, the Eurofighter deal, ambulances, the Army Fund, the Malaysian Fund and then the wastage of money allocated to combat COVID-19 crisis – which led to the resignation of undersecretaries of the Ministry of Finance – that were referred to Nazaha.
Since 2016 until today, we have not seen the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority charging any employee who was found guilty of corruption. Many times, Kuwaitis do not know what happened to the major issues that plague them and affect their reputation internationally, especially in the financial sector.
Regarding the money laundering scandals that were raised, despite the referral of those involved in these cases to the Public Prosecution Office, no one has yet been imprisoned. The duty of Nazaha is to put the facts before the people.
On the other hand, instead of resolving all these issues, the government rushed to do something surprising. It demanded the media to support its news with documents; while the duty of its agencies is to investigate the matter of violations, and with it, the National Assembly must exercise its oversight, and not conclude deals in order to obliterate issues.
Because of this, we ask – How many crows benefit from the honesty of the hoopoe and acquire what is not theirs? How long will the corruption lottery remain in the desert of the scandal series, as if we are looking for a mirage?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times