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Thursday , October 6 2022

‘KD 11mn spent on patrol boats public funds waste’

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Audit Bureau reports grave violations

KUWAIT CITY, April 5: The announcement of 3 infiltration operations into Kuwaiti territorial waters within one week revealed a serious defect in the Coast Guard insurance system, intersecting with what the Audit Bureau revealed about suspected financial waste estimated at 11 million dinars in the work of a construction contract, supply, delivery and guarantee of interceptor boats according to the contractual terms, reports Al-Qabas daily. An official source told the daily these contracted boats are lying idle for years, and instead of being at sea at work, in light of regional conditions in which security risks escalate, they remain ‘anchored on land’ due to the inaction and neglect and the failure of officials to examine them technically and check their operational efficiency in accordance with the contractual terms.

The source said that these boats could have been used to protect Kuwaiti territorial waters, but the senior Coast Guard officials have taken the issue lightly, without testing the boats or examining and checking them, and neglecting the specifications certificate, and the identity of 29 marine pieces was not specified either they are for rescue or for interception purposes. According to the audit bureau report and a number of observations and deficiencies it made in the Coast Guard system show “grave violations in the supply of boats and equipment for maritime security,” referring to grievances in the construction, supply, delivery and guarantee of interceptor boats according to the contractual terms, which they responded to.

The Ministry of the Interior had previously formed a committee to investigate these shortcomings and observations. At a time when events are escalating regionally and internationally, and security risks are increasing, the coast guard system in the country suffers from neglect, leniency, poor equipment and lack of capacity building in a way that makes it highly prepared to face challenges. After the Audit Bureau, in its latest oversight reports, sounded alarm bells about the grave violations that plagued the coast guard system, new details emerged which indicates the gross neglect in dealing with the insurance and protection mechanisms of our territorial waters.

The announcement of 3 infiltration attempts through Kuwaiti territorial waters within a week raises question marks and gives credit to the Audit Bureau report for 2020-2021 about suspicions of financial waste estimated at about 11 million dinars in the work of a construction contract, supply, delivery and guarantee Interceptor boats as per the contractual terms. The infiltration operations into the country, which have been repeated recently in an unprecedented manner, revealed dangerous gaps in the Kuwaiti territorial waters and a security flaw that requires urgent action to address it and prepare for the danger that is no longer far from our country, in light of regional turmoil and international events, but the Ministry of Interior represented by the Coast Guard concluded a deal for the cruisers are without a certificate of specifications and their receipt came in a suspicious manner, so the trial period was neglected and the deal was approved and the insurance marine pieces were supplied without a vision or a clear plan to ensure the safety of the cruisers and protect public money from being wastes.

With the repeated entry of infiltrators, and the last of these operations, drug smugglers infiltrating the Al-Khairan area two days ago, and the Coast Guard was unable to arrest them, question marks are raised about who benefits from the suspicious boats deal, and how long will such neglect continue; and who allowed what might be called ‘buying fish in the sea’ as the boats have been idle since 2017, despite paying 11 million dinars and failing to benefit from them.

The 10 loopholes are crystal clear — the boats were delivered without checking on the specifications certificate; violation of contractual terms indicates negligence and leniency; defective boats have been on land for years; the supervisory body did not test the boats according to the agreement; the boats have not been checked to know whether they are for intercepting or for rescue; the malfunctions have affected all the boats, and no solutions were provided to fix the faults; the infiltration of smugglers and suspicious elements is repeated, and a pause is required; an urgent plan is required to tighten procedures to secure our territorial waters; the use of modern technology in maritime security is seen as weak and failure to put an end to the documentary cycle procedures indicates a defect.

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