By Dr Khalid A Al-Saleh
Some time ago, I received information about “corruption” in purchasing devices at one of the medical councils in which I was a member. I contacted a strong and honest man, who in turn spoke to ministry leaders. A committee was formed that met and reviewed the requests and purchase orders for the devices, then following lengthy meetings, the committee confirmed that grave violations took place and wrote its report of which I still have a copy. But the corrupt employees were not sent to prosecution and were only removed from their jobs.
I am sure this incident is repeated a lot in Kuwait, and has led to the continuation of corruption, as punishment is not equal to the crime. Whenever the scale of justice is disturbed, thefts and bribes will continue. That incident that I personally suffering from gave me experience about corruption methods in Kuwait, as there are always corrupt people, a corrupt environment and corrupt influentials from behind a veil. Corrupt people twist any government decision in favor of influentials and receive the price of their corruption directly or indirectly.
In a corrupt environment, corrupt employees defend their corrupt seniors, and being anti-reformist, write letters to officials, publish articles in newspapers, use social media and even contact members of parliament to ask questions to doubt reformers instead of the corrupt, all this to support corruption and defame the righteous. As for corrupt influentials, they ensure lighter punishments in case the hidden is revealed, and contact leaderships to justify the actions of those bribed, saying “those are our children and let bygones be bygones”. Financial corruption has attracted major attention due to the identity of the persons involved and the size of the amounts.
Kuwait’s financial integrity has been hit in many establishments and fields, including the Public Institution for Social Security, army fund, defense purchases, interior ministry hospitality fund, some government ministries, sports, ports authority, municipality, petrochemical industry, oil sector and others. What makes things worse is that those involved in corruption are not held legally accountable. This is what makes many Kuwaitis unsatisfied. The reason is not the absence of supervising and monitoring entities — as there are 12 entities that are fighting corruption; but a large number of them lack effectiveness or suffer from inability.
Fighting corruption faces obstacles such as interference by authorities, lack of laws and weak performance based on the absence of a comprehensive vision to fight corruption. All these were among signs of corruption in old governments. Today the scene has changed, as I think and hope senior leaders have begun to realize the harm of financial corruption on development programs and the relation between corruption and the crises Kuwait faces, whose main cause is corruption. My experience taught me not to trust social media.
Sometimes I feel those who are attacked and defamed could be righteous. The solution to fight this foggy situation comes from the direction of wise governance and from the judiciary. Wise ruling means a good choice of leaders and holding them to account, while the judiciary’s role is to dispense justice quickly, give people their rights and maintain their reputation. There is no doubt corruption is attached to humanity, as evil is the mirror of the dark side of the human being, while goodness and justice is the bright side on this earth.
The struggle between them continues and will not stop, and the more people are successful in employing the law and spreading justice, reform tools will become stronger, people’s lives will improve and good will prevail, and the opposite is correct too. Any observer can easily link the spread of corruption and a nation’s backwardness, and countries do not advance unless they succeed in making justice prevail and spread freedom and equality.
As for backward countries, they are immersed in a corrupt environment, which does not convince a sane man and cannot change reality. Whoever looks for development must contain corruption and rely on reformists, the strong and honest, and only with these countries will progress and go ahead without the need of flattering poems or sounds of singers.