O leadership … select honest investigators to stop convicts from fleeing

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IN democratic countries, controversy does not erupt with every failure. This is because there is a clear law that defines responsibilities, and the penalties are indisputable. There is no principle of favoritism in the ranks, starting with the prime minister and ministers down to the youngest employee.

Some are removed from office over minor infractions such as the resignation of Speaker of Norway’s parliament Eva Christine Hansen after it was discovered that she had used a taxpayer-funded home in Oslo despite having a nearby residence.

Also, a minister in Norway had resigned after it was revealed that he was still registered under his parents’ residence even though he was living with his family in Oslo.

In Bangladesh, its former prime minister Khaleda Zia was sentenced to 17 years in prison for embezzling USD 400,000. She is still under house arrest.

These examples come from two countries – one developed, and the other considered as part of the Third World. Between them, there are many countries in which harsh accountability has taken place, after which they were able to evaluate the performance of institutions and cut off corruption. This has also happened in the UAE. As I remember, more than 20 years ago, the authorities discovered corruption by a few employees who embezzled money from the public funds. Their names were made public, and they were subjected to disciplinary measures.

In Saudi Arabia, the story of the “Ritz Hotel Riyadh” suffices to show us the road to reform.

Unfortunately, this does not exist in Kuwait. Here, negligent and corrupt employees are covered up, or their names are revealed but they are not held accountable, or even the reasons are not provided. At best, they are referred to prosecution.

However, the demons of the law insert loopholes in the files that lead to the release of convicts either through acquittal or on bail, allowing them to flee abroad where they enjoy the money they have looted, and we move on as if nothing happened.

Today, the country is preoccupied with the scandal of lack of medicines, and the incompetence of some hospitals. This is normal in a country where scandals increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but no one was held accountable. About USD 17 billion were spent on preparations to confront this pandemic, but it did not lead to the desired result.

In fact, Kuwait was the only country in the world at that time to implement closure for the longest period – 165 days – in addition to a series of online applications that generated millions for its owners. Also, PCR tests had turned into a profitable business at that time.

Suddenly after the pandemic, people discovered that there are officials who have factories for masks and medical supplies in China. Most of them are those who contracted with the ministry or participated with contractors and squandered a lot of public money. No one held them accountable, and it is therefore not surprising that we have such a scandal.

In a small country like Kuwait, the budget of the Ministry of Health amounts to USD 2.6 billion, which is almost the budget of a state. But the results are so bad. This necessitates research to determine the causes and solutions, and holding the negligent ones accountable.

In the countries that launched a radical reform process, things did not go right until the heads of corruption were chopped off. Even those close to the leadership were not spared. Kuwait may have started with the exemption of a number of senior officials, but this must be accompanied by revealing all the details because the first step towards solution is to recognize the disease and then administer the medicine.

O leadership, investigate all the suspects. Before that, select the trustworthy investigators so that the convict does not enter through the door and exit through the window.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Time

This news has been read 40621 times!

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