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Saturday , November 26 2022

Your Highness the Prime Minister: A dud cheque is a crime committed by usurers

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YOUR Highness the Crown Prince and Your Highness the Prime Minister, Al-Seyassah newspaper had Sunday published an article on dud cheques under the title “Cheque without balance”, which had the opinions of several lawyers, psychologists and sociologists, all of who emphasized the enormity of the current law that criminalizes this issue at all levels.

Before anything else, we must emphasize that the leadership of Kuwait over time have been keen on human rights, and those rights are bestowed on those who deserve them.

Therefore, the issue of imprisoning the insolvent came as a surprise when the articles on the penalty for bounced cheques were approved in the Penal Code, making it a felony, especially with the exaggerated jail term of five years.

Years ago, the National Assembly had tried to reduce the penalty when the government refused to make it a misdemeanor rather than a felony. It accepted reducing it to three years, but despite that, it still continues to cause economic and social challenges.

In most countries of the world, a cheque is considered an instrument of payment, and not a tool of credit.

In some countries, it is a misdemeanor and the issuer is punishable by three months in prison. In Europe and the United States, there is no penalty for such an act.

This is due to the fact that there are many tools that can be used to honor rights, which is what Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and finally Jordan did. They abolished prison sentences and replaced them with fines.

It is unfortunate that in Kuwait there is a huge misinterpretation of the meaning of economic and investment facilities. Some commercial laws are still unchanged from the time before the constitutional state.

For this reason, dud cheque cases have turned into a major obstacle in the work of the courts, especially since the global financial crisis in 2008, and the large increase in pending cases. The reason is that there are usurers who are well aware of the game of extorting the needy by legal means.

They are forced to sign dud cheques in the event of their inability to repay, and to avoid being imprisoned, attempts are made to seize their homes, cars, or even the end-of-service gratuity, and the assets of their families, which leads to major social problems and eventually to the destruction of families.

In their game, these people rely on a very flexible saying, which is “preserving rights”, but this is not by lending to those who do not have the ability to repay, as they bear the damage or loss in exchange for interest or profit.

The usurer lends money with huge interest on it. Here we do not mean the banks that lend according to in-kind guarantees that preserve their rights. The usurers are not shy about committing such crimes.

Your Highnesses, in order to redress the injustice facing many who have fallen under the burden of need, it is necessary to abolish the penalty of imprisonment related to dud cheques. It is unreasonable for a person who issued four dud cheques to be imprisoned for five years for each one of them, i.e., a total of 20 years.

The matter shouldn’t be left to the usurers, who use the judiciary, security services and all state institutions as means to blackmail insolvent debtors who issued bounced cheques.

Irrespective of the results of the upcoming elections, it is necessary to put an end to this issue that has troubled Kuwait and the Kuwaitis.

This can only be done through legal means, to be precise, through clear legislation similar to what has been applied in most countries of the world, and above all, what the Kuwaiti traditions always stand for, which is not only to prevent injustice, but to fight it.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times