Urgent Call to Freeze Funds of Cash Launderers Amidst Rampant Real Estate Scams

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KUWAIT CITY, July 2: The Public Prosecution intends to send letters to the European countries in order to ask them to freeze funds estimated at more than KD1 billion, as some people have been accused of laundering money from Kuwait through real estate fraud, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting a reliable source. The source confirmed that the prosecution took a number of steps to monitor the flow of State funds at home and abroad in a bid to recover them and punish those involved in money laundering.

Finance Minister Manaf Al-Hajri

He said the prosecution recently filed new cases against several individuals and entities accused of money laundering through real estate fraud. He added the prosecution is moving towards more than one direction to track the State funds withheld at home and abroad, while following up the new money laundering cases; some of which were referred to the concerned court upon completion of procedures and collection of evidence.

The source pointed out that the State Funds Tracking Team at the prosecution is implementing a legal plan to speed up the completion of files and cases, in cooperation with various prosecution offices, especially the International Cooperation Prosecution, and to intensify efforts in combating money laundering and recovering misappropriated public funds.

In confirmation of what was published by Al-Qabas on June 28, under the title “The Latest Developments of the Strategic Alternative Project,” and that it was finally submitted to the Minister of Finance, after its final study was approved by the Civil Service Council, in order to express opinions on it and make some amendments to it, or to approve it as it is, Finance Minister Manaf Al-Hajri confirmed that the strategic alternative to salaries is still under study, and its elements that achieve its original goals have not been completed in a way that serves the public administration in the country in particular, and the national economy in general.

Al-Hajri told KUNA that any treatment of the strategic alternative should not affect the sustainability of the state’s public finances, or the government’s ability to launch tangible projects in clear sectors (such as housing, tourism and transportation), which requires greater capital spending. Al-Hajri stressed that “no new proposal should cause additional reluctance for Kuwaitis to work in the private sector, as is happening now, due to long working hours, and its focus on measuring employee performance and productivity.” He explained that the issue of the strategic alternative to salaries arose from the need to achieve social justice among state employees, indicating that the goals will not be achieved “if the treatment is done by dealing with salaries only and without addressing performance scale in a modern way that motivates the employee to develop cognitively and professionally.

Al-Hajri added, “What is currently being circulated on social media about the strategic alternative is inaccurate and unrealistic in its numbers.” On a related note, the draft budget for the current fiscal year showed that the salaries item acquired more than 56.7% of the total budget expenditures, as the estimated expenditures on salaries amounted to about 14.9 billion dinars, an increase of 13% in salaries of the previous year, in which the total salaries item amounted to about 13.1 billion dinars, and the draft budget estimated 21,815 new jobs during the current year.

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