Bahrain official 'pockets bribe to drop charges'
Manama, August 19, 2014
A top government official in Bahrain arrested in connection with corruption had allegedly pocketed BD12,000 ($31,633.9) for dropping human trafficking charges against a restaurant.
The Bahraini, who was the director of inspections at the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), allegedly told a manager at the Indian restaurant in Umm Al Hassam that he could waive the legal action against them if they cough up thousands of dinars, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He was arrested during a sting operation in a car park in Budaiya on Saturday after the restaurant's human resources manager Apsara Kumar alerted the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID).
“Subsequently, an investigation was launched and he was arrested red-handed after obtaining a warrant from the Public Prosecutor and referred there,” said Interior Ministry anti-corruption, economic and electronic security director general Major Bassam Al Miraj in a statement.
Kumar told the GDN he visited the LMRA last week to follow up on a runaway case and was referred to the director, who, he claimed, was behind the human trafficking investigation.
“Four staff members had run away from our employment two months ago, which we had reported to the LMRA,” he explained.
“I went to the LMRA to follow up the case and I was directed to this official, who took my mobile phone number and called me asking to meet him at the Adliya petrol station.
“He met me along with another person in his car and said that he would help us resolve a human trafficking case against our restaurant if we pay BD12,000.
“I discussed this with my management and lawyer and we reported it to CID officials, who gave us BD12,000 and asked us to agree to the deal.
“I called him and we agreed to meet at the Budaiya Ruyan Pharmacy car park at 9.30pm on Saturday, where I handed over the envelope with the money to him inside his car.
“As soon as I stepped out of the car, CID officials arrested him.”
It is understood the director is in police custody pending an investigation.
Public Prosecution chief Wael Buallay said he could not reveal details of the case until the investigation was completed, while LMRA officials did not comment when contacted by the GDN.
The GDN reported in February that the LMRA had uncovered 40 cases of suspected human trafficking at the restaurant and action was taken against the employer who allegedly mistreated his staff and deprived them of their rights.
He was claimed to have enslaved workers by subjecting them to fictitious debts and seizing their passports.
The case is underway in Bahrain's courts. - TradeArabia News Service