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If I were not Kuwaiti

BRAVO to our Omani brothers for their success in combating corruption these days. Corruption is prevalent in many parts of the world, and it has been affecting us in Kuwait so much these days that it feels as though we haven’t gone through it ever before.

The success story that we wish happened in our country is the news related to combating corruption, as per which Oman’s Criminal Court sentenced the CEO of the Oman Oil Company to 23 years in prison and imposed him with a fine of 5 million riyals, in addition to dismissal from his job.

The Omani CEO was charged in a money laundering case related to the aromatics project. The court also ordered the transfer of more than $8 million of his money to the state treasury.

I sat for a while, imagining how many officials in the state and its public and private sectors, how many traders, how many sheikhs, and how many influential people would be in prison just like their colleague – the CEO of the Oman Oil Company – if we had the Omani spirit to combat corruption.

Unfortunately, we are in Kuwait, which is a state of laws and Constitution, and which is witnessing the fall of prices of the oil that we depend on just like how a baby depends on his mother’s milk. We are still standing idle and watching, led by our rational governments and our last shameful Parliament, as the stories of billions surround us from all sides, without our officials moving a finger. In fact, in the past four years, our Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority referred to the Public Prosecution about 35 cases even though the real number should be 3,500 cases.

Nonetheless, we painfully watched the “Sheikh of the noble Sheikhs” – the late Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad – being dismissed from his post when he uncovered the masters and sheikhs of corruption, and whose eyes fell on their heinous deeds, by seizing hundreds of millions of public money!

Therefore, there are hundreds of corruption stories that we have been hearing about for years, while those responsible for combating it just stand by and watch …  I wish I would have been an Omani if I were not Kuwaiti.

Congratulations to you, our Omani brothers, for your decisive policy in combating corruption. May corruption vanish from the people of Kuwait, along with our policy of spectating over the misfortunes of corruption!

In our neighboring country of Iraq, corruption strikes its ranks increasingly in all aspects of life. People there long for the days of the late Saddam Hussein, as there was no corrupt person except Saddam and his sons, and the rest did not have the courage to commit in his presence any acts of corruption unless the tyrant ordered them to do so.

I was recently impressed by the Iraqis in dealing with the magnitude of corruption there.b  People did not stand and just spectate. I recently have been fixated on an Iraqi television station called “Sumer News” that presents to the viewers accurate pictures and information about corruption.

This television channel narrates stories of corruption committed by ministers, former members of Parliament, and government officials in all aspects of life, with hundreds of millions of dollars, leaving Iraq and the Iraqi people to live in destitute and poverty in an agricultural, tourist and petroleum country with a variety of ethnicities and origins.

If we had such a channel, perhaps the heroes of corruption would have been ashamed of it, such as our influential politicians in the legislative and executive authorities, merchants, sheikhs and their associates. This is because the matter is too big for us, and we are fed up with the corruption, either in the open or deep states, and all those who belong in both of them.

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil

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