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Wednesday , October 27 2021

‘Nazaha’ rules strict; Asset declaration is secret

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 15: The committee for support and oversight of business organizations in the Inspection Committees Department of the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) Fawaz Muhalhal Al-Mudhaf revealed that the total returns received as of the end of July 2021 reached 26,167, reports Al-Rai daily. In a press statement, Al-Mudhaf said, “Assets declarations are among the secrets that must be preserved, as the legislator was keen to respect the privacy of the information provided by the person subject to the declaration system.” All employees of the authority are forbidden from disclosing any data that come to their knowledge due to the performance of their duties. This prohibition continues even after the termination of the services of the employees in the authority.

The legislator also imposed penalties on employees who violate this, in accordance with Article No. 45 of the authority’s law. In the event of a suspicion of a crime of illicit gain, the authority has the right to request the attorney general to obtain bank account data, provided that the investigation committees prepare a report on each individual who is likely to have an increase in his financial liability resulting from illegal gain, after hearing his statements”. The declaration of assets is a system through which the subject discloses his cash, real estate and movable funds inside and outside Kuwait. The system was developed to be a tool that contributes to proving the crime of graft.

It was introduced in law No. 2/2016 on the establishment of the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority. The law specifies in Article 32 that all those who are subject to the provisions of this chapter must submit the declaration according to the following dates – the first declaration within 60 days from the date of taking office, updated declaration within 60 days at the end of every three years of those who remain in office, and final declaration within 90 days from the date of leaving office. Article 2 of the law specifies the categories subject to filing the asset disclosure statement, which includes the executive, legislative and judicial authorities, starting with the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the President of the Supreme Judicial Council, and the leaders and directors of departments, as well as the board of directors of companies in which the state owns at least 25 percent of the capital.

The objectives of the anti-corruption law, specifically concerning the asset declaration, are:

1. Prevention of financial corruption

2. Protection of public funds

3. Strengthening oversight over anyone who assumes a public position

4. Immunizing the public employee from questioning his or integrity

5. Establishing the principle of transparency and integrity in state agencies In accordance with the executive regulations, a decision is issued by the authority’s president to form examination committees (A), (B), and (C).

Each committee consists of a chairman, a member with legal experience, a member with financial experience, and secretaries from the relevant sector. The task of these committees is to verify the completeness of the formal elements of the declaration and the validity of the data contained therein.

In order to clarify the truth, these committees are given several powers, namely:

1. Hearing the statements of the person subject to the law

2. Assigning the subject to submit data or documents it deems necessary

3. Requesting investigations from the competent authorities

4. Requesting data, papers, documents or copies of them from all parties

5. Seeking the assistance of experts or whoever it deems appropriate from inside or outside Nazaha

6. Hearing the statements of any person they deem necessary, taking into account the protection and confidentiality that the law provides for that individual.

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