Kuwait MP: anti-corruption committee 'silly' in face of pressing problems

Kuwait at a five-year low on the Corruption Perceptions Index

Kuwaiti MPs react during a parliament session at Kuwait's National Assembly in Kuwait City on March 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YASSER AL-ZAYYAT

The Kuwaiti government’s decision to remedy the country’s corruption problems by forming a review committee is "silly", opposition MPs have told local media.

Earlier this week, the government formed a committee to reinstate a local Corruption Transparency chapter, the international non-government body responsible for assessing 180 countries.

The organisation currently places Kuwait at a five-year low on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a study published annually to assess countries’ mechanisms.


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Safaa Al Hashem, a populist MP and the only woman in parliament, said the government is complacent when it comes to the rampant issue of corruption.

“Your committee is silly, distasteful and without colour, if the prime minister wants to fight corruption he needs to get rid of the consultants that are making us lose the plot,” she said to Al Rai daily.

The committee was formed by the cabinet of ministers on Monday to implement reforms in sustainable development and transparency, and design mechanisms to promote Kuwait’s status on the CPI.

“It is ironic that the government fights MPs seeking to fight corruption, considering the regretful status of Kuwait in the CPI,” said MP Waleed Al Tabtabaie.

The government, however, has taken steps this week to indicate the committee is not just a scheme to delay a draft crackdown.

Kuwait’s minister of interior Sheikh Khaled Jarrah Al Sabah on Tuesday suspended seven senior employees until further investigation.

Local media reported the issue arose when reviewing the ministry’s hospitality budget, which in 2017 reportedly jumped from $3 million (Dh11 million) to $73 million - a suspect increase in the quota.

In 2015

The Kuwait Transparency Society (KTS), an organisation that serves as Transparency International’s local chapter was suspended in 2015.

According to Transparency International, the elected board of directors was dissolved and replaced with government appointees.

“In order to protect the staff and membership of KTS ... Transparency International’s board has passed a resolution suspending the organisation from the Transparency International movement until further notice,” said the organisation.

Kuwait accused KTS of interfering in political matters and launched an investigation after the society’s chairman allegedly insulted parliament.