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Eighty Kuwait public sector workers charged with embezzlement
January 26, 2014, 5:09 pm

A Kuwaiti official has warned public sector workers will be prosecuted for embezzlement if they are caught faking attendance at work after it was revealed some were cheating new fingerprint machines.

Government offices recently introduced sophisticated fingerprint machines to record when employees start and finish work in a bid to crackdown on absenteeism and low productivity in the country’s bloated public sector, where more than 90 percent of Kuwaiti citizens are employed on high salaries.

According to reports in Kuwait Times, some employees have been using “finger gloves” that replicated their fingerprint, allowing others to clock on for them. The colleagues would take turns to clock on for each other.

Kuwait Municipality general director Ahmad Al Subaih said such behaviour could be criminal and about 80 people already were facing prosecution.

“If any institution proves that an employee was repeatedly absent and was not doing his work, they may sue him for embezzlement of public money,” he was quoted as saying.

“This is a kind of swindling that is very similar to the payment that Kuwaitis working in the private sector receive from the government as support to their salaries.

“Signing in with fake fingerprints is not only common in public institutions, but also in some private sector companies, especially in the oil sector. I know of 80 employees being sued for embezzlement of public money as they were not reporting to work but were receiving salaries from the government.”

He warned those convicted would face fines of up to KD20,000 ($70,997) – often more than the wage they had unfairly received.

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