KUWAIT CITY, July 6: Acting Secretary- General of the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) Dr. Mohammad Buzabar warned against tampering with sick leaves, affirming that any tampering is regarded as forgery punishable by the penal code, reports Al-Qabas daily. During a symposium titled “Integrity in the Education and Health Sector” held by the College of Allied Medical Sciences at Kuwait University, Dr. Buzabar revealed that, “Nazaha has referred a number of cases related to manipulation of sick leaves to the Public Prosecution”.
He affirmed the authority’s keenness to protect whistleblowers, indicating that, “No one knows whistleblowers’ information because the report is treated as a bilateral relationship only between the whistleblower and the inspector in charge of the report.” Dr. Buzaber explained that there are three types of protection provided by Nazaha to the whistleblowers. It has been able to provide administrative protection for many of them. Employees were returned to their workplaces after ascertaining their rights were abused at their workplaces, and confirming the relationship between the harm inflicted on them and the submitted report.” Nazaha also represents the whistleblower before the judicial authorities, which is a kind of legal protection. The third kind is personal protection, which has not been applied so far because it has not become necessary. Nazaha seeks to combat bribery and the abuse of public office for personal reasons and nepotism. For this reason it has put in place mechanisms to hold those involved in bribery accountable. He affirmed the authority’s keenness to verify reports in order to preserve people’s dignity, but at the same time, he warned against giving incorrect information in financial disclosure statements, as this entails penalties that may amount to imprisonment, a fine, or removal from office.
Dr. Buzabar highlighted, as an example, the issue of waste in the use of medicines by importing medicine for lice by the Ministry of Health in a previous era. He said the fact that the Ministry of Health comes at the top of the list in terms of submitted complaints does not mean that the medical level is deteriorating, but rather they are gratefully fulfilling their duty in light of COVID-19 pandemic due to which “they have all our appreciation and gratitude”. Meanwhile, Al-Rai daily reported that the top statutory auditor in Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) Nawaf Abdul Hamid Al-Eidan said, “Nazaha works on combating corruption, warding off its risks and effects, prosecuting its perpetrators, and seizing and recovering the money and returns earned through corruption in accordance with the law”.
In a press statement, Al-Eidan explained that the authority requests investigation and collection of information on funds and proceeds of corruption crimes, and sends them to the competent authorities to track and recover them wherever they are. It has been communicating with civil and international society organizations to obtain the information they possess in order to follow up on corruption cases, procedures and measures undertaken by the competent authorities for recovering the money and the proceeds resulting from it.
Regarding the details of the mechanism adopted for offering rewards to whistleblowers, and the extent of interaction with them, Al-Eidan quoted article 41 of law No. 2/2016 on the establishment of the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority. He explained that, as per this article, the whistleblower is entailed to a reward that would be a certain percentage of the funds recovered due to his reporting of the corruption. The article stipulates providing the whistleblower with personal protection by not revealing his identity or whereabouts, and providing him with personal guards or a new place of residence if circumstances so require. It also stipulates providing the whistleblower with administrative and occupational protection by preventing any administrative action against him and guaranteeing the continuity of his salary, labor rights and benefits during the period decided by the authority.