Supercop Escapades, part 1

31 May, '07

The benevolent Don Quixote

and we thought that parliamentary work, and being elected, is simple. Hah! No way José! Look at what is expected of you:

You get calls at all hours of the night, even when a concerned citizen spies a drunk public sector worker and expects you to take care of the situation, as you should. So into that brandspankynewlexis you get – with a Don Quixote refrain playing at the back of your mind and race – not stopping at those frivolous red lights, you’re an MP, a representative of the people now – to get to the scene of the crime and have a proper foot-stomping-fist-banging-lung-gutting fit and demand – as is your complete and full right – that the accused submit a blood sample for analysis to determine the quantity he has purportedly imbibed and thus, determine there and then, as a judge, jury and executioner that he be thrown out and as a head of a committee tasked with finding out the transgressions of that public sector, you can now allay any self-guilt and not suffer any insomnia for executing your job as best you could.

Bahraini MP and supercop Mohammed Yousif Yaqoob Al-Mozil - photo credit: Al-Waqt newspaper

Of course, there is that little thing in that book called the constitution which somehow talks about the separation of powers and that this sort of thing might be better done by the judicial authorities, but hey, you’re Don Quixote, not that stupid Sanchez! So it doesn’t apply to you.

Who looks at that book anyway, it’s only good for being used as a doorstop or propping up an unbalanced table or something like that

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Comments (32)

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  1. can we talk says:

    i know! isn’t it shocking?! i can’t believe that he did that? and why the h*** did the guy agree to give a blood sample? and why the h** did the lab employee agree to take the sample? there are so many issues here..

    do the employees not understand that there is a protocol to how things get done. or isn’t there such a thing in writing?
    if i walked in and demanded that x’s blood be tested, would anyone give me the time of day? and doesn’t the parliament have a manual that clearly explains the boundaries of the members’ job description?

    aside from the subject of the guy’s alcohol level, the hospital should take the MP to court for infringing on their rights and interfering. this is akin to the “amr bil ma’roof wal nahy an ilmunkar”. it needs to be stopped immediately. it is more scary than any drunk employee!!!

  2. Just me says:

    Well if a hospital worker shows up barefoot, pissed out of his brain and allowed to work as normal, then why shouldn’t an MP ask for a blood-test and raise the issue. Of course he should have called the police. Not sure if I understood the story properly though neither the post or the alwaqt article were very clear. Plus it was back in 2004, thats what i call hard-hitting action, why is being discussed 3 years on?

  3. mahmood says:

    Nope, that was a few days ago actually, and you’re right, he should have called he police.

  4. mahmood says:

    وكشف المزعل عن أن الموظف الآسيوي المخمور سبق أن أجري له فحص دم في نوفمبر/ تشرين الثاني 2004 أي قبل عامين ونصف وكان يومها قد حضر إلى الدوام حافيا وقد أثبت التحليل وقتها أن نسبة الكحول بلغت وقتها 66 مليمولا في اللتر، وأن إحدى الممرضات سبق أن شكت وضعه إلى المسؤولين إلا أن أحدا منهم لم يعر الموضوع أي اهتمام يذكر.

    The operative word is “سبق” which means “previously” but the right honourable member (which I shall henceforth call “quickfuse Mo”) “caught” him in the act a few nights ago, Friday night to be exact.

    This from Al-Wasat:

    قال النائب محمد المزعل إن أحد فنيي مختبر دائرة الطوارئ والحوادث بمجمع السلمانية الطبي كان يمارس عمله مساء أمس الأول (الجمعة) وهو مخمور.

    وعن تفاصيل هذا الموضوع، ذكر المزعل أنه تلقى اتصالاً هاتفياً من أحد المواطنين في وقت متأخر من مساء أمس الأول يبلغه بوجود فني آسيوي يعمل في مختبر دائرة الطوارئ والحوادث بمجمع السلمانية الطبي وهو مخمور، وقد رفض ترك موقع عمله على رغم محاولات المسئولين في مجمع السلمانية إبعاده، مشيرا المزعل إلى أن وظيفة الفني تتمثل في تسلم عينات المرضى ومعاينتها.

    وأوضح النائب أنه بمجرد تلقيه هذا الخبر توجه إلى مجمع السلمانية الطبي والتقى الفني الآسيوي والطبيب المناوب، وقال: «طلبت من الطبيب المناوب إجراء تحليل لدم الفني الآسيوي للتحقق من وضعه الصحي وما إذا كان مخموراً، وقد تبين من خلال التحليل وجود نسبة عالية من الكحول في الدم تبلغ 39.7 mmol/L في حين أن النسبة العادية تتراوح بين صفر و 2 mmol/L».

  5. can we talk says:

    Well if a hospital worker shows up barefoot, pissed out of his brain and allowed to work as normal, then why shouldn’t an MP ask for a blood-test and raise the issue.

    because it is not his place to. you said it yourself, he should have called the police. we cant have people walking around making other people take blood tests. who the h*** does he think he is???!!

  6. Just me says:

    Why can’t he ask for a blood test? The worker has the right to refuse doesn’t he? Plus the article says that his superiors were trying to get him to leave. The article then says that Miz’al requested that the doctor-in-charge carry out the blood test on the drunk. I would call it being a pro-active citizen especially since this guy is handling medical blood and fluid specimens. I don’t like seeing this issue being changed into some kind of fanatical islamist attempt at ‘promoting virtue and preventing vice’. It’s just common sense. Now it’s up to the hospital to discipline this employee. Is it legal to work whilst drunk? Do u have to call the police? I’d assume only if the guy is being abusive. However, first line of call i’d presume is to talk to those in charge which is what mis’al seems to have done.

    There is enough incompetence in Salmaniya as it is. Obviously no one seems to be doing anything about it so why critisize someone who raises the issue that clearly drunk people are allowed to handle medical specimens and god knows what else.

  7. mahmood says:

    Why can’t he ask for a blood test?

    Because it is not within his mandate as a public official. That means that now the worker – whoever he is and however drunk he was – cannot legally be prosecuted.

    It would have been much better for the MP to simply call the police, or even the minister herself and they would have done their duty. I doubt that any manager will accept an inebriated employee to continue in a job. But there are certain legal processes that must be followed; otherwise chaos will ensue.

    And this, if not treated properly, could set an unwanted – and completely unlawful – precedent.

  8. Just me says:

    I don’t disagree. But what is the legal process of complaint? Fill out a complaint’s form? or do u speak to those in charge at the time? Who authorised the blood test? It was the doctor-in-charge/the supervisor, the person of authority who was in the hospital at the time. Not miz3al. Why cannot he be prosecuted? A test is a test? Unless he gave it without consent or under duress? I mean is what did – requesting from the doctor-in-charge that he tests the alcohol level of an employee who is clearly over-the-limit illegal? Or should the officials who allowed this guy to continue be working in breach of the law? My point is, I see this as part of Salmanya’s general incompetence that is no longer tolerable. If you can’t even trust the person who transports ur bloody blood specimen, how do u trust any lab results, how do u trust any diagnosis, how do u entrust your life in such a negligent place?

    I mean if he took a needle out and dug it into this incompetent drunk i’d understand all the fuss that you are making.

    With regard to his mandate as a public official…not sure where it starts as a citizen and ends in being an MP?

    To be honest, i’d do much more if i saw some drunk employee pissing around in a hospital and everyone just saying whatever.

  9. متابع says:

    بصراحة يا محمود ما عندك سالفة.. وكرتك احترق من زمان من يوم ما رفع عليك “بن رجب” قضية ورحت تمدح فيه وتمدح في النظام علشان يتنازلوا عن القضية..

    لو فيك خير اتكلم على واحد من الحكومة بمثل هالكلام

    للأسف أنت صوت حكومي الآن والحكومة عرفت اشلون اتخليك في صفها

  10. متابع says:

    ملاحظة أخرى:

    نعلم أن ما قام به النائب المزعل خاطئ، لكن نعلم أيضا أن هناك مسؤولين في وزارة الصحة ليس من صالحهم أن تتم محاسبة الموظف المخمور لأنه سيفتح عليهم أبواب أخرى

    يشهد الله أني مقرب من ما يدور في كواليس وزارة الصحة ولو لا خوفي من خلق مشكلة وبلبلة في الوزارة وكشف أطباء وممرضين وموظفين ستتعطل على إثرها عوائل لإتصلت بالنائب وأخبرته بالكثير

    سجلها علي يا محمود بس الوزارة ممسوكة صح وما راح يفصلون أو يقوموا بإيقاف الموظف المخمور

    وسلملي على من يطالب بالإصلاح السياسي والمالي والإداري في البلد

  11. Just me says:

    Besides, what century are we living in?? BLOOD test for alcohol levels??!

    It seems neither the police or the hospital have heard of a breathaliser?!? Speaking of which there should be routine breathaliser checks on the road and elsewhere where the alcohol limit needs to be observed.

    But no, saudis are still allowed to drunk drive killing tens of people a year, and hospital workers are still allowed to be over the limit at work.

  12. exclamation mark says:

    Whether the action was wrong from the MP or not …

    Still , it is a scandal !

    Al- Salmaniya Gate :mrgreen:

  13. mahmood says:

    Unless he gave it without consent or under duress?

    In a country that applies the laws, then the whole case unravels because due process was not observed.

    I mean if he took a needle out and dug it into this incompetent drunk i’d understand all the fuss that you are making.

    I beg to differ. I know you and what you stand for – from the comments you have entered here and our history. I do not think that you mean that as that would invite unnecessary chaos.

    A law was severely breached by a person over-stepping his limits; power got to his head, one might argue, but allowing something like this to happen without reprimand will bring in quite a series of events that we do not need. The law, the process and the method should be respected.

    What Moz’il (his way of spelling his name according to his CPR) did was illegal and he should be punished for it, or at least censured, so that others won’t dare take the law into their own hand due to their position, status, or uncomprehended limits.

    Now just imagine if Mohammed Khalid or Jassim Al-Saidi took it into their heads that as it is against their principles to allow something like ma’atems or ‘aza processions or for somebody to be called Abdulhussain to do something about it.

    Do you think that they would be right?

    Of course not.

    MPs should be the first to respect the process and the law. Moz’il did not and it is this that I am against.

    I don’t give a tinker’s cuss about the lab technician, and if he was under the influence in such a job as his, I would have supported him being led to prison and the key thrown away, but only after due process.

  14. mahmood says:

    hospital workers are still allowed to be over the limit at work

    I suspect that this is an exaggeration born out of frustration. I doubt very much that you would find this situation – being under the influence at work in a public place – the norm. But rare exceptions do exist. I do know of one, in a ministry, of a Bahraini who has unfortunately turned into an alcoholic and has been for years, but instead of him being advised to get help, his situation has been covered up “in order not to sever his livelihood”

    The job is non-critical, but still, the person is normally inebriated at work and in full view of his managers. Should I pass that snippet on to Al-Moz’il to summarily deal with him?

  15. nasser moez says:

    may be the MP was wrong, but all what he did was to ASK the doctor in A/E to do a blood test in response to a complaint against the employee. So from a legal point of view – as i presume- the MP followed standard procedure and asked the docotr in charge to take action.

    what is frustrating now is the attempt by the Minister’s office -as I’ve heard- to delete the LAB RECORD from the SYSTEM.

  16. can we talk says:

    all what he did was to ASK the doctor in A/E to do a blood test in response to a complaint against the employee. So from a legal point of view – as i presume- the MP followed standard procedure

    don’t you understand, it was none of his business to. and this is not a small thing, it is huge. people can’t just go around demanding things that are not their right to.

    standard procedure? standard where? what procedure says that an MP has the right to ask for blood tests of employees of any organization? we cant all just go around sticking our noses where they don’t belong. he needs to be made an example of to ensure this never happens again, no matter how good his intentions.

  17. Salman says:

    Comment No.15,

    It is the job of the police to handle this situation, and not for anyone to take the matter into his own hands, and act as the judge, lawyer and executioner.

    This is abuse of powers handed to him by us, Bahraini citizens who had voted for him to stand where he is today.

    Now just imagine if Mohammed Khalid or Jassim Al-Saidi took it into their heads that as it is against their principles to allow something like ma’atems or ‘aza processions or for somebody to be called Abdulhussain to do something about it.

    Yeah right, i would pay to see that happen, and the reaction of the people after it. They would probably still stick to the same story as we are in now, that the people have the right to act against them in the way they see fit.

  18. Just me says:

    In a country that applies the laws, then the whole case unravels because due process was not observed.

    Ok I may be missing something here. Which law was broken? What is the due process?

    I don’t want to drag this out. I just need to know, cos i’m the type who would do something like that. For example, I saw someone pissing in public on the street yesterday and I took action, I won’t say what I did, but I was repulsed. Or the Bahrainis making a drunken raucus on the plane, I made sure that I complained to the attendant about the disturbance. What then happens, is that the flight attendant then calls the police. I don’t understand who is responsible for what in such a situation?

    Like you said, the whole system is screwed, people cover up for incompetence, employees internalise the negligent culture, the norms and practises embody bad practises. Why didn’t Salmaniya staff call the police?

    I think the whole thing opens up a can of worms. The fact is there is no ‘due process’; you either put up or shut up. Even when newspapers report a severe case of misdiagnosis that has lead to death, there is no formal investigations into f-all.

    I wouldn’t care if it was Saeedi or Khaled that did this in this case. An incompetent drunk employee in a hospital is the bottom line. Asking the doctor to carry out a blood test is NOT illegal. If it is proven that he used his official status or THREATENED the doctor (as you seem to insinuate by using the term ‘taking the law into his own hands’) then maybe there is a case about an MPs abuse of power. The fact is, the hospital is a ‘critical’ place because there is a direct public risk. Some guy sitting behind a desk in the back office of the ministry of potatoes is not.

    To summarise
    1. A debate on what is ‘an abuse of power’ by an MP or anyone getting paid out of the public purse for that matter, does need to take place in any free or democratic system. Where does the law stand on this?
    2. A clear and transparent complaints and investigation process, especially in situations where the public is at direct risk because of organisational or individual negligance.
    3. There are three key individuals in this case; the MP, the doctor-in-charge, the negligent employee. Each one has a case to answer, each one has responsibilities, each one needs to be investigated, each one SHOULD be accountable.

    Unfortunately, unlike you Mahmood, I have no trust in the rule of law, or in the police, or in the whole system that accepts and embodies such poor hospital standards. I wish I did, I wish I could just write a letter, and get an official response regarding my concerns. I wish I could rely on a police man to come and take a statement and call on me as witness. I wish there was routine breathalisation so I know my life is not only at risk when I drive or when I go to hospital. Life should have opened your eyes by now.

  19. mahmood says:

    Which law was broken?

    This one:

    Article 32 [Separation of Powers]

    a. The system of government rests on a separation of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities while maintaining cooperation between them in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. None of the three authorities may assign all or part of its powers stated in this Constitution. However, limited legislative delegation for a particular period and specific subject(s) is permissible, whereupon the powers shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Delegation Law.

    b. Legislative authority is vested in the King and the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution. Executive authority is vested in the King together with the Council of Ministers and Ministers, and judicial rulings are issued in his name, the whole being in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

    He is a member of parliament who has sworn to protect and abide by the Constitution and maintain the separation of powers.

    You and I and the other 700,000 didn’t. He is on a higher plain, being what he is and should have not meddled into things that not only do not concern him, but he has interfered in another power.

    Do you not agree with this? I’m sure you do.

    This callous act (courageous and “correct” as it may be) jeopardizes institutions and should not just be lightly brushed aside.

    The Ministry’s corruption, drunk employees, cadaver rapists, wrong leg amputees, gross medical misjudgments is not the question here; those should be dealt with on their own adopting prescribed methods to correct their situations. What I take umbrage with here is an elected member of parliament gross misjudgment – not the first time I might add – which jeopardizes the slow crawl to democracy and institutationalised approach to government.

    I agree with your third point.

    I agree with the last paragraph. That is the utopia that we should all strive toward.

    Except for the last unwarranted jibe.

  20. Just me says:

    Seperation of powers is the cornerstone of democracy I agree. But how exactly is asking a doctor to test an employee’s alcohol limit a conjecture into the judicial realm? The MP in question did not pass sentance or attempt to influence the judicial process, directly or indirectly. At this stage, the judicial authorities SHOULD take action and are free to do so, based on witness reports (MPs included), the scientific evidence (the test) and decide whether the employee has broken the law. That is an independent process from that which questions the code of conduct of the hospital, which is in the legislative realm, which IS the MPs job.

    what is frustrating now is the attempt by the Minister’s office -as I’ve heard- to delete the LAB RECORD from the SYSTEM.

    The IRONY of what is happening now, as nasser moez pointed out, is that the judicial authorities will not only turn a blind eye to this breach, but will directly and indirectly cover it up. Nothing is stopping the police from investigating this further, but because of the public risk that is involved it ABSOLUTELY needs to investigate this. But will it? No it won’t, purely because there is an INHERENT non-seperation of power. The ministry of health and salmanya authorities will cover this up and, as you know, the ministry of interior (an executive body) dictates the judicial process. This means your underlying assumption of the seperation of power in the first place is wrong; then u come and accuse an measly MP of abusing power? This MP doesn’t even come close with regards to the article you are holding up.

    I’m in no way defending or apologising for this MP, i’m just saying, i disagree with the whole spin and framework you’ve addressed this problem in.

  21. mahmood says:

    I look at it in a way that regardless of any other circumstances, this “experiment” is dependent upon the fact that respect for the law will exist, given time, and that MPs more than anyone else should act and be guiding models for this “democratic experiment.”

    Yes, I agree that there is a lot of irony here; yes, I agree that other branches of government do not recognise a line between its branches, that line has gone gray a long time ago, but we have to start somewhere and excusing yet another incursion is futile as we will never reach to that oft-talked about utopia of a “government of institutions.”

    Further, Al-Moz’il himself is the head of the MoH investigative committee, what has he achieved other than undermine the full work or the committee by pulling a stunt like that? Does that committee now has any relevance whatsoever when its chairman flouts the law like this so readily? I contend that he single-handedly destroyed any chances for this committee to succeed or even for it to be looked at as unbiased!

    The very least he should suffer is his removal from that committee immediately so that a much needed investigation does take place in order to identify and correct wrongs.

  22. mahmood says:

    what is frustrating now is the attempt by the Minister’s office -as I’ve heard- to delete the LAB RECORD from the SYSTEM.

    You’ve heard wrong. How can they ever hope for this to be covered up with the actual reports and lab-results pictures plastered all over the national press?

    Whoever you “heard” that from needs his head examined. Hopefully by that same brain-dead technician.

  23. Just me says:

    Alright. We hang all our problems on the MPs, they should epitomise political best practise. They are accountable to us. Its our fault for voting them in. The MP is wrong, not the system, not the employee, not the doctor-who-should-have taken action.

    How can they ever hope for this to be covered up with the actual reports and lab-results pictures plastered all over the national press?

    Silly me. How could I be suspicious. Actual reports and scientific evidence are always upholded and investigated especially if they are printed on solid paper. I mean, the bandargate affair set an absolute precedent in terms of accountability and system overhaul. The CIA has been disbanded, the minister has been criminally convicted for the breach of ministerial mandate and financial irregularities. The journalists have been sacked from their posts because of loss of integrity etc. I mean this MP who asked for an employee to be tested for alcohol level at work, should resign immediately. It is absolutely diabolical that an MP is even concerned that a barefooted drunk who can’t walk in a straight line is expected handle medical specimens. Off with his head!

    My friend, a fish rots from the head not from the tail. This case is so trivial that i’d go as far as saying your brainfart cause a stink so sweet smelling compared to the shit that is flooding us from the top.

  24. mahmood says:

    Yes I agree with you. I’ve said so before. But regardless of the other mess that we suffer from, two wrongs do not make a right.

    Yes, things do get covered up here rather than dealt with immediately so that people can just get on with their lives; the Bandargate affair is just one of many examples. I completely agree that the level of frustration with the status quo now is at an all time high. Yes, we should demand and get a truth and reconciliation commission. Yes, we should demand and get a full constitutional monarchy as defined by the benchmark used on that declaration with only the King and his Crown Prince being the figurative heads of state and that all other family members should be as normal as you and me. Yes, we should re-write the constitution and the internal parliamentary bylaws to make them more binding between all parties concerned.

    I agree to everything above and more which share the same common sense. But my dear friend, you have to call a spade a spade and keep that spade completely separate from other issues – connected as they may be – and for God’s sake recognise that this particular MP has over-reached and over-stepped his mandate!

    Two wrongs could never make a right.

  25. Salman says:

    Yes, we should demand and get a full constitutional monarchy as defined by the benchmark used on that declaration with only the King and his Crown Prince being the figurative heads of state and that all other family members should be as normal as you and me. Yes, we should re-write the constitution and the internal parliamentary bylaws to make them more binding between all parties concerned.

    As long as they are not immune to the system, and can be questioned for their actions as well. I believe this way, we can maintain true transparency in our system.

  26. Hmmm..

    I sure hope this whole fiasco won’t digress the whole case from the prosecution of the drunken employee and all those involved.

    Miz3al or no Miz3al, I think there was a problem and that problem does not cease to exist because of Al Miz3al.

  27. mahmood says:

    Of course, both should be dealt with; the MP and the hospital employee and his administration.

  28. Sara says:

    If an employee is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is the right of the employer to demand testing. If the employee refuses, he shall automatically be deemed guilty and dismissed from his position. This is a very simple concept that is practiced in the west. If the employee was asked to leave the premises and refused, only then should the police be involved.

    This situation is not surprising considering the amount of citizens arrests that are made.

  29. Just me says:

    There is no moral equivalence between the act of the MP and the employee…that is my point.

    I think you misunderstand what seperation of powers mean. The MP did not influence, impede or issue any judicial proceedings. The police and the general prosecutor are free to investigate should they deem there to be any breach of the law. That is fundamental to the accusation that you put to the MP.

    Ultimately, the employer (doctor-in-charge) gave authorisation for the blood test. The case collapses here.

    Cases of the following nature:
    – MPs getting money from the ministry of interior for election campaigns
    -Ministry officials avoiding prosecution because of influence on police and general prosecuter’s office.
    – Media censorship (the media being the ‘fourth’ governing authority)
    -The executive being inferior to the legislative etc

    …are breaches of article 32 which are fundamental to the whole system. You have highlighted many different cases regarding these breaches but citing article 32 in a case like this is like a husband blaming the garbage man for the wife’s affair with the plumber.

  30. B Arstool says:

    Mahmoud, If I worked at Salmanya, I think i would be driven to drink.

  31. can we talk says:

    the employer (doctor-in-charge) gave authorisation for the blood test. The case collapses here.

    actually, neither the MP nor the doctor is the employer in this situation. your case collapses here

  32. Just me says:

    If their is a ‘due process’, the the doctor-in-charge (or whoever authorises such tests) is a representative authority and acts on behalf of the Ministry of Health who sign the paychecks and is the employer. But the ultimate employer is the public, as anything coming out of the public privy should belong to the ‘people.

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