There is nothing better than having a warm breakfast on a very cold day. Couple that with reading a good newspaper and find that your country is mentioned in a good light on the front page, and one would have an excellent start to the day:
Alcoa Faces Allegation By Bahrain of Bribery
By Glenn R. Simpson
A company controlled by the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain accused Alcoa Corp. of a 15-year conspiracy involving overcharging, fraud and bribery.
A suit in federal court in Pittsburgh by Aluminum Bahrain BSC alleged that Alcoa steered payments for an aluminum precursor ingredient to a group of tiny companies abroad, in order to pay kickbacks to a Bahraini “senior government official.” The Bahraini firm, known as Alba, alleged that Alcoa had overcharged it for the precursor material, alumina.
Bank records and invoices show that more than $2 billion in Alba’s payments for alumina passed from Bahrain to tiny companies in Singapore, Switzerland and the Isle of Guernsey. The suit alleged that some of the money found is way back to officials involved in granting the contracts.
“Defendants…furthered their fraud through bribes paid to one or more official of the Government of Bahrain,” said the suit, which didn’t name the officials and didn’t cite any direct evidence of such payments.
The Wall Street Journal – 28 Feb, ’08 subscription required for full article
Fantastic, not because something is seriously about to unravel here, and hopefully several culpable morons would be indicted (holding breath) but the real good story is that it seems Mumtalakat has opted to file the suit in a US court against a US company. Why is that significant I hear you ask? Well, because the defendant in the US court will ask for full disclosure of documents to sustain and support the fraud allegation, something I believed that Bahrain and its government is not ready to do, but this – hopefully – will prove my error. Washing dirty laundry in public sends a clear message that the cause of that dirty laundry will no longer be tolerated. Transparency has a chance of infusing all levels of the system.
It is high time that this squandering of resources, corruption and nepotism is ended and funds judiciously used to better the lives of regular Bahrainis.
Carry on like this for a little longer and get some results in actually impeaching and throwing corrupt officials in jail for the rest of their natural, and I would be the first in line to elect Talal Al-Zain as Speaker, Mohammed bin Essa as Prime Minister and their boss as God!