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Kuwait appoints first anti-corruption chief
June 16, 2013, 8:29 pm

Kuwait’s first anti-corruption boss has been appointed in a long awaited move towards cleaning up the Gulf state’s public purse, according to state news agency KUNA.

The country’s new anti-corruption law provides penalties of up to seven years in prison for crimes including the manipulation of public tenders and auctions, bribery, counterfeiting, forgery and graft. It also covers financial disclosure and money laundering.

The oil-rich country is rated poorly by international corruption monitor Transparency International. It ranked Kuwait 54th of 180 countries in its 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, with a score of 4.6. A score of 10 indicates no corruption.

In 2011 the International Monetary Fund said Kuwait's anti-money laundering framework showed weaknesses in the preventive measures for financial institutions and a lack of supervision and monitoring.

An anti-corruption watchdog was established to improve the country’s standing.

The authority will be chaired by Abdulrahman Saleh Al-Namash, while Riyadh Humoud Al-Hajri will be deputy chair, according to a statement on KUNA.

The other members are Mishari Saad Al-Mutairi, Dawood Abdullah Al-Jarrah, Hamad sultan Al-Subaie, Abdulwahhab Saleh Al-Muzaini and Luai Ahmad Al-Saleh.

Earlier this year, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Thekra Al-Rashidi, reportedly filed four legal suits relating to allegations of corruption within former governments worth KD5m ($17.6m) of public money.

The case is believed to be one of the largest government corruption cases in the country’s history and involves alleged misuse of public funds and bias in the management of tenders.

It had been overlooked by three of her predecessors, it was reported.

One complaint involved the purchase of brand new cars that were never used and some cars being used for excessive travel, local Arabic newspaper Al-Rai reported, quoting an anonymous source.

In 2011, the public prosecutor launched an investigation into nine members of parliament after two banks raised alarm bells over the transfer of $92m into the bank accounts of two MPs.

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