Shura Council approves new graft bill
Manama, December 13, 2011
Bahrain’s Shura Council has given its initial approval to a government-drafted bill that imposes punishments in line with new legislations combating corruption.
Councillors said they hoped that the new law would be imposed on 'big shots' rather than have it just applying to 'scapegoats'.
Council defence, foreign affairs and national security committee chairman Dr Salah Abdulrahman said that there were prisoners in jail who took 'peanuts' from embezzlement and bribes, while others who stole millions were enjoying their time outside prison.
"We are with this new legislation, but we hope that it covers everyone, not just the weak who have no backup and have just stolen peanuts, while leaving the big shots," he said.
"Nothing harms our economy more than embezzlement and bribes and yet we don't see real action from the government to combat it."
Dr Abdulrahman said that 'big shots' were stealing the public's money and property without being touched.
"They have to be caught and taken to trial before the scapegoats, because they are the ones who are harming people the most not those who take very little."
Minister of State for Shura Council and Parliament Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel said that the new legislation was being introduced to cover loopholes in the penal code.
"We are now including the private sector in line with agreements signed with the UN to combat corruption and ensure that there are less criminal activities in regard to bribes and embezzlement," he said.
Under the new legislation already approved by parliament, those who will be covered are board chairmen, vice-chairmen and members.
It will also include chief executive officers, directors, heads and chiefs besides regular private sector employees.
Those involved in bribes and embezzlement, whether directly or indirectly, using their positions or jobs, will be sent to prosecution and the money or gift will be frozen.
However, councillors postponed for two weeks a vote on the punishment that is up to 10 years in jail.
They said that the punishment had to vary according to the person's status rather than have it general. – TradeArabia News Service