‘Strong institutions, strict laws without any discrimination crucial to fight corruption’
KUWAIT CITY, Feb 5: Crimes related to corruption are committed behind closed doors, making it difficult to measure its rate, reports Al-Seyassah daily quoting speakers at a symposium on “Kuwait and the Index of International Corruption Perceptions” held by the Kuwait Bar Association Tuesday evening.
The speakers noted that arrests made in Kuwait with regard to corruption are selectively imposed, demanding at the same time to cement transparency and integrity.
In this context, member of the Corruption Perceptions Index Committee at Kuwait Transparency Society (KTS) Salma Al-Issa said: “My heart bleeds whenever I turn the newspaper pages to find published news giving the impression that Kuwait is a very corrupt country, and the question is: What role do we play as a civil society, given that it’s not possible and very difficult to measure corruption or perceive it and calculate corruption perceptions, because it transpires behind closed doors”.
She added, “We must develop perceptions of measuring corruption based on 13 sources. The index does not measure money laundering but it measures government’s ability to pursue corrupt individuals, the red tapes involved, and ensure protection of the whistleblowers”. Al-Essa explained, “Kuwait is the only country whose corruption rate has increased, let alone having shortage of legislations, such as the conflict of interest law that was nullified.”
In his role, former Secretary- General of the Anti-Corruption Public Authority (NAZAHA) Ahmad Al-Rumaihi said: “There is a time difference between joining the corruption agreement and establishment of the Anti- Corruption Commission and since the establishment of the latter, there has been a division and conflict as regards mandates, besides the fact that its employees need training”.
He wondered where the annual reports are; what they do with the investigation or convictions made by ‘Nazaha. He suggested the anticorruption agency should find another way of operating. Head of Kuwait Bar Association, Sharyan Al-Sharyan, explained that the task of developing a country begins with community control and we have collapsed civil society institutions, which could have advanced with lightning speed if the laws are applied properly without discrimination, especially on the people who use their public offices to amass wealth.
“The country and its people should cement the tradition of integrity and transparency in the daily life of the society through education, and there must be oversight for all authorities, including the judiciary”, Al-Sharyan noted.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General of Kuwait Association for the Defense of Public Funds Yousef Kazem indicated the website of the Anti-Corruption Commission does not include any valuable information and the corruption indicators must be dealt with in a proper manner to avoid retrogression, and to secure information given to the anti-corruption agency in a bid to prevent information spill and leakage