Bahrain to get tough on private sector bribery
Manama, April 20, 2011
Tough punishments against bribery and embezzlement in Bahrain's private sector have been approved by MPs.
Parliament backed a government-drafted bill that will impose the punishments as Bahrain introduces new legislations to combat corruption.
MPs hoped that the new legislation is imposed on 'big shots' rather than have it just apply on scapegoats.
Parliament second vice-chairman Shaikh Adel Al Maawada said that there were prisoners in jail who took peanuts from embezzlement and bribes, while others who stole millions were enjoying their time outside jail.
'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.'
Al Menbar Bloc president MP Dr Ali Ahmed said that big shots were stealing the public's money and property without being touched.
'The big shots 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,' he said.
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 panel code.
'We are now including the private sector in line with agreements signed with the United Nations to combat corruption and ensure that there are less criminal activities in regard to bribes and embezzlement,' he said.
Under the new legislation, 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, MPs 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