Tag Archives corruption

Bahrain on the front page

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.

WSJ - ALBA corruption caseA 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!


Accountability resurfaces

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It was with pleasure that I read the following on the front page of the GDN this morning:

A new law will force ministers, top government officials, MPs, Shura and municipal councillors to declare their personal finances. An independent commission of judges will have sweeping powers to investigate their finances, including those of their spouses and children.

Those who fail to comply, or found guilty of financial crime, will face heavy fines and/or jail sentences.

This is obviously in response to a Parliamentary Wish tabled some time ago requiring such a thing to happen, the government then formulated this wish into legislation – which is its right under the by-laws – and returned it back to parliament for approval.

I didn’t see the draft law yet, but like everyone else concerned with accountability in Bahrain, I am anxious to see its contents; particularly the exceptions – if present – and what the actual penalties are and if they are sufficient for deterring corrupt officials from continuing to abuse their positions. Will this law, for instance, only limit the declarations of wealth to be “correct and acceptable” from the time it is issued, or will it have any provision to force officials to show how they got their current wealth? What is to happen to that wealth should it be considered ill-begotten? All this remains to be seen. I am not very enthusiastic as what has been reported as fines and sentences in the papers is a pittance when compared to the wealth amassed by various officials in this country. But I’ll keep the final judgement to when the law is applied and convictions are made.

It is important; therefore, to understand how the law defines corruption, as when it was last attempted, the result was quite varied and officials suggested that concept is quite elastic; thus, rendering the definition and the law toothless.

Which brings me to the question of the independence of the commission tasked with overseeing this new law – when and if it sees the light. The question must be asked, will they ever be independent and be seen as such if they are appointed – with all due respect – by his majesty? Or will they be subservient to the government’s wishes and not pursue the fight against corruption with the required gusto? Or even worse, will they drop a case once identified due to governmental or royal court pressure due to their affiliation?

As to the judiciary, so far it has been shown somewhat ineffective and there is quite a road to tread to get it to improve and gain the people’s trust and confidence. Hence, it is just as important to completely reform the judiciary in parallel to effecting this new legislation.

I hope these kinds of reactions to the low level gained by Bahrain in the recent Corruption Perception Index will continue. The government seems to finally have gotten the message, as the options to continue to ignore world opinion in this regard particularly will shake the foundations of the country’s economy. It looks, so far, that the government are finally acknowledging this fact and are doing something about it.

It is up to the parliament to ensure that these oversight tools are not watered down one bit, but strengthened with their determination to extricate corruption and corrupt officials. Abrogating their responsibility by continuing to colour their decisions based on confessional association is not an option. They must act in a cohesive bipartisan manner in order for this country to pull itself out of the entrenched quagmire.


Corruption Index slips again

CPI comparison table from 2005 - 2007

When the crown prince announced that we must eradicate corruption in our country, he couldn’t have timed it better.

I don’t know whether the thing that prompted both him and the prime minister to reiterate their intention to correct this situation is due to them receiving advance copies of the 2007 CPI Report or they were genuinely alarmed at the depth of corruption uncovered which gave rise to accelerating corruption cases brought against various companies in which the government has a stake in, but I am happy enough to give them the benefit of the doubt in that they did notice the money being bled from public funds and made the required political decision to staunch that flow.

Transparency International logo

Political decision alone is of course not going to resolve this down-ward spiral. What would help is primarily reforming of the judicial system and separate it completely from the executive – practically as well as constitutionally – and remove influence peddling and interference to subvert the course of justice. That is in general as far as corruption cases are concerned, but specifically competent courts and arbitration panels should also be enacted under the same criteria to adjudicate business cases expeditiously. Business cases have been known to go on for years if not decades. This of course gives comfort to corrupt individuals and practices. Who of us don’t remember the various corruption cases through the past few years?

Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption in 2007 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.

The most important factor in winning against corruption of course is the presence of social justice and good governance, both of which are somewhat rather lacking, and this latest CPI report is symptomatic of this condition and should act as a clear warning that intrinsic changes must be enacted to bring the country back to a correct and sustainable path in which every Bahraini takes ownership in Bahrain’s future.

This is an alarming situation we are living in. It gave rise to the dangerous down-ward spiral we have entered with corruption; Bahrain – one might say – has become “حارة كل من إيدو إلو” (taking the law into one’s own hands / acting with impunity) – in the great words of Duraid Lahham.

How do we rise above this then?

Establish social justice and good governance. No one, no one, should be above the law. A simple formula that requires quite a lot of sacrifices from the leadership much more than it would from the common man. It means loosening the control strings and believing in Bahrainis. It means learning to genuinely trust each other. It means the eradication of sectarianism in every form it takes. It means the equal distribution of wealth. It means recognising flaws and genuinely fixing them.

Glossing over these issues and just using that tired adage that “we are one family” just won’t cut it any more. Action on the ground is needed, otherwise I can guarantee that the 2008 ranking will be even worse. Even staying still is not an option any more, others will continue to overhaul us as some already have.

How about starting with an honest and complete change of the cabinet rather than just reshuffling it? It is plainly obvious that real new capable persons be either appointed or elected into all of those positions with complete disregard to tribalism and sectarianism should be sought. Positions which should be answerable to parliament to ensure that should financial or administrative corruption be discovered, it is effectively and severely dealt with.

We have good men and women throughout our society who could shoulder these burdens, why not give them a chance to do so?

Once again, reports like this should not be discouraging. They are providing us with mirrors through which we can plainly see ourselves. What we do with that image is completely up to us.


Renewed official stance on corruption


Like everyone else in Bahrain, I was thrilled to read our Crown Prince’s unequivocal statement that corruption will no longer be condoned and that even if a minister was implicated in corruption, he or she will get their just desert.

I also remembered that our parliament has discussed this issue and the committee tasked with formulating that new law has rendered its decision1 to approve a parliamentary discussion of this law. I hope that with the Crown Prince’s push, that law will see the light during the forthcoming new term.

This re-enforced political will is wonderful to behold especially in view of the accelerating corruption cases brought against various managers in government-owned companies like ALBA, Gulf Air and most recently ASRY. I hope at the very least these people being brought to justice will at least get those corrupt officials to sit up and feel a bit embarrassed and take their thieving hands out of the cookie jar for a while at least. One would hope that this new political will will also force them to refill those jars from whatever that had stuck to their nimble fingers.

Unfortunately however, these kind of promises have been heard before but never sufficiently followed up; or at least if they have been followed up no conviction was been meted out to the corrupt. On the contrary, in some cases, people implicated in corrupt activities were actually promoted, as we have most recently witnessed in someone who was implicated in the infamous Bandargate fiasco.

Cases like the Housing Bank, GOSI and others are still fresh in people’s minds. So calls like these – with all due respect – need to really be followed up and convictions of the corrupt be levied in order for this political will to have some legitimacy and for it to regain its credibility.

Let me remind you that corruption is not only monetary, but other forms do exist as well which must be taken care of. In Bahrain for instance, the financial corruption might not exceed other forms of corruption like nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, avoiding the law, etc. However, corruption is no longer just restricted to these traditional arenas, it is more completely defined as:

Corruption obtains when an official transfers a benefit to an individual who may or may not be entitled to the benefit, in exchange for an illegal payment (the bribe). By taking the bribe, the official breaks a legally binding promise he gave to his ‘principal’ (usually the state administration or a private company) to allocate the benefit to those entitled to it. Corruption is neither a property of a social system or an institution, nor a trait of an individual’s character, but rather an illegal exchange. Nowadays scholars have abandoned the classic view of corruption as the degradation of an individual’s ethical sense, or lack of moral integrity. If corruption is a type of exchange it can, at least in principle, be the subject of empirical, cross-country examination. For data, scholars turn mainly to three sources, the German-based NGO Transparency International; the World Bank, and, to a lesser extent, Freedom House. These agencies all produce large cross-national surveys and ranking of countries, although the data come with a variety of biases. Naturally, illegality makes it hard to measure corruption.

Which brings me to the last few years’ CPI rating for Bahrain which has degraded appreciably. One only hopes that with the affirmation and bluntness of the Crown Prince this time, that things will really get moving in the right direction. Finally.

If I may suggest a few small thing to aid in inculcating the culture of anti-corruption: create a provision in law to protect whistle-blowers, cancel that heinous Press and Publications Law 47/2002 to allow news reports to out corruption and its benefactors and let’s see some sentences handed down against high-profile corrupt public employees and appropriate their misbegotten wealth. I am sure that should these things be enacted, our CPI rating will most certainly rise. Much more importantly of course, Bahrain’s credibility both national and international will be much enhanced, and people’s lives here will be bettered.

Now what’s the Anti Corruption Hotline number again?

[1] pdf document in Arabic


The Thieving MP

I had to laugh when I read Mohammed Al-Othman‘s column this morning and am left wondering how unpopular he will become now as “the machine” will certainly start turning and he will end up painted all the hues of the rainbow as long as it is black!

Al-Wasat columnist Mohammed Al-Othman

هذا النائب تدرج في اللصوصية؛ فمن لص صغير إلى لص وسط إلى لص كبير… تقاعد من الوظيفة التي عمل بها بعد أن «نشف» ماء بئرها من كثر سرقاته، فلم يغادر كراجاً أو نخيلاً أم تراباً إلا وسرق منه خلة! ختم عمله بالفوز بعقود استثمار – بثمن بخس – لشركات تعود ملكيتها إليه. يتحدث عن المال العام، والعقود التي يصوغها للشركة التي يمتلكها، ترهق موازنة الدولة بشروط تعجيزية، واستنزاف حاد لموارد الدولة التي من المفترض أنه يحميها!

This MP escalated in thieving degrees; from a small thief to a medium one through to a big thief. [He] retired from his job after he dried its well with the number of thefts he perpetrated, as he did not leave a garage or palm grove or sand without steeling something from it no matter how small! His departing gesture at his job was to win investment contracts – at a very low price – which were awarded to companies he owns. He talks about the public purse, and the contracts he wrote won by his own companies with debilitating conditions [for the government to break off only with heavy penalties] and the draining of the state’s funds which he should protect.
read the whole column in Al-Wasat Newspaper

That should set the cat amongst the pigeons! Just watch that whole committee and the rest of the parliament members how run like headless chickens trying to cover their posteriors.

Oh what fun.. the play will start in 4 weeks time but the previews we read in the papers over the last week most certainly makes the long wait worth it!


لا تبوگ و لا تخاف

Bandarite Attiyatallah - courtesy Al-Wasat Newspaper

He’s still unperturbed.


And completely without shame.


Another favourite idiom that comes to mind in addition to the above, which by the way translates to “don’t steal and don’t be afraid (of being caught)” is من أمن العقاب أساء الأدب which loosely translates to “if you secure immunity from punishment, you will do as you please”.

So why should Ahmed Attiyatallah be afraid? He shouldn’t and he probably has never come across that feeling in his life, at least the fear of breaking the laws of this country and being held to account for it. It appears he not only secured himself immunity against punishment, but has the full backing of the government in addition to more than half our elected parliament fighting tooth and nail to allay him the discomfort of facing questions about financial irregularities which he himself has admitted to in black and white.

Not only that, but he brazenly puts out a very wordy statement last night the Arabic language of which is poetry! I never thought he was capable of such literate and poetic language before, but I raise my hat to him, if it indeed was written by him in the first place. I had to re-read it a couple of times to try to get to the gist of it as it is teaming with idioms, lore, advice, castigation and flowery prose.

Poetry though does not exonerate one from perceived crimes, and putting out statements rather than facing questioning in committee in parliament as set in the constitution and parliamentary bylaws is once again a transgression that no minister should consider.

So, Ahmed, advice from me, if you do want to clear your name and exonerate yourself from those heinous accusations, do yourself a favour and present yourself voluntarily for questioning by parliamentary committees as I am sure you would not want to restrict the questioning simply for financial irregularities, but face your accusers also for your perceived role in the Bandargate affair (which the gutless press can now write about directly without having to go round the houses as the court has made its decision in that case, so that ban has automatically been lifted).

I am glad that someone had dissected the minister’s statement for me though, so thanks go to Adel Marzooq whose analysis of that statement in today’s Al-Wasat rips the respected minister another orifice.


Hold the presses, Attiyatallah wants to be questioned!

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عطية الله: لاتبوق ولا تخاف

Here you go, he said it himself: “don’t steal, don’t be afraid” (of questioning).

The honourable minister of cabinet affairs Ahmed Attiyatallah is not afraid of being questioned because he doesn’t have anything to hide. Well, give the man a biscuit, put him on stand and ask him the questions that the whole of Bahrain is waiting for answers for, don’t limit it to just perceived financial irregularities allegedly performed by the respected gentleman, he said that he is not guilty and is ready to take the stand, so why stand in his way?

It is the duty of the parliament to allow the right honourable gentleman to clear his name which has undoubtedly been sullied since September last year and has got our country into various states of vertigo.

Let the man clear his name; all those who opposed the motion to send him to the parliamentary investigation committee should now shut up, vote in favour of the investigation motion and let the man speak.


18 MPs withdraw from parliament this morning in protest

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Bandarite Ahmed Attiyatallah

وأكدت الحكومة لمجلس النواب أن طلب الاستجواب المعروض مشوب بعيوب منصوص عليها في المادة (145) من اللائحة الداخلية، وبالتالي فلا يجوز التبليغ عنه، ولا يجوز أصلاً إدراجه في جدول الأعمال، وطلبت الحكومة من المجلس عدم إحالة طلب الاستجواب إلى اللجنة المختصة، إلا بعد الفصل في مسألة أولية يتوقف عليها دستورية أو عدم دستورية الاستجواب، وآلية ذلك أن يطلب الرئيس من دائرة الشئون القانونية بوصفها هيئة مستقلة لإبداء الرأي القانوني في دستورية أو عدم دستورية طلب الاستجواب، ومدى خلوه من العيوب الدستورية والقانونية التي نصت عليها المادة (65) من الدستور والمادة (145) من اللائحة الداخلية، وهذا حق للرئيس المجلس بموجب المادة الثانية البند الرابع من قانون دائرة الشئون القانونية.

وذكر الفاضل انها هناك مخالفتان المخالفة الأولى المتعلقة بالنطاق الزمني للمسئولية السياسية للحكومة والوزير أمام مجلس النواب، وصلاحيات المجلس في ممارسة دوره الرقابي في هذا الشأن، والمخالفة الثانية فهي مخالفة طلب الاستجواب لمبدأ الفصل بين السلطات، لما تضمنه الاستجواب من رقابة على أعمال الحكومة بصدد موضوع معروض على القضاء
إيلاف – Ù¨ مايو ٢٠٠٧

That seals the fate of parliamentary life in Bahrain. Non-existent would be a gross over statement.

22 of the 40 members voted today not to put the bandarite Ahmed Attiyatallah through the discomfort of being questioned for financial irregularities.

This is a sitting minister, a member of the ruling family and the main person accused of sponsoring sectarian strife in a report released by an ex-government consultant. He has copiously indicted himself while trying to wriggle out of the Bandargate accusations, but parliament, the body which by definition is put in place to over-see the government and ensure that democracy does not get derailed, voted today to not question him resulting in the 18 members of Al-Wefaq parliamentary bloc, the sponsor of the demand to question him not in the whole affair, but just the financial irregularities which he freely admitted to, walking out of parliament.

If anyone has any reason to believe that this is actually the “new age of freedoms and democratic life” in Bahrain, then they’ve better wake up and smell the stench.

What apparently happened this morning according to an informed source is that the Asala bloc said that the Wefaq demand for interrogation was unconstitutional as it is construed as interfering in the judicial powers. The 17+1 Wefaq members withdrew in protest and to discuss the matter further, meanwhile and while the Wefaq members were out of the chamber, Salah Ali, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood Menbar bloc immediately tabled the motion to vote on the lifting of his member Mohammed Khaled’s immunity from prosecution as requested by the minister of justice in regards to the defamation case brought against him by the Bahrain Journalists’ Association’s president Isa Al-Shayji; with the 18 Wefaqis out of the picture, the remaining 22 members voted against the motion with only Adel Al-Assoumi agreeing to it and Al-Dossery abstaining, hence the vote was fully carried to oppose the lifting of Mohammed Khaled’s parliamentary immunity.

How parliament can refuse the interrogation based on their assumption that it interferes with the separate Judicial Powers and pass a motion not to lift the immunity of a member of parliament for the very same Judicial Powers to take its course is anyone’s guess at this duplicity in standards.

As to the Bandargate thing, parliament is once again expected to vote as to which committee the interrogation should be held in and that vote is apparently scheduled for Thursday.

The full BJA statement follows:


Conning the con man

آسيوي يستأجر فندقاً بـ 27 ألفاً بشيك مرتجع

أمر رئيس النيابة العامة فهد بونوفل أمس (السبت) بحبس متهم آسيوي، وهو وكيل لأحد الخليجيين، استأجر أحد الفنادق بشيكات مقدمة، وعند حلول موعد الاستحقاق تبين أن تلك الشيكات مرتجعة، وتبلغ قيمة الشيك 27 ألف دينار، وهو عبارة عن قيمة إيجار الفندق لمدة شهر واحد.

وتتلخص القضية في أن أحد الخليجيين استأجر الفندق من مالكه، واتفق الطرفان على تقديم المستأجر إلى المؤجر شيكات مقدمة لمدة معينة، إلا أنه وعند صدور قرار وزارة الإعلام بمنع بيع المشروبات الروحية في بعض الفنادق وغلق الصالات الفنية، وكل الخليجي مدير الفندق وهو آسيوي الجنسية بتوقيع الشيكات، وعند حلول موعد استحقاقها تبين أنها مرتجعة فتقدم صاحب الفندق بشكوى ضد الآسيوي إلا أن النيابة العامة أفرجت عنه في بادئ الأمر بكفالة مالية، وبقدوم الشهر الآخر وحلول موعد استحقاق الشيك الآخر، تجددت الشكوى ضد المتهم الآسيوي، فقررت النيابة العامة حبسه، وتقديمه إلى المحكمة الصغرى الجنائية التي حددت يوم الإثنين المقبل موعداً لأولى جلسات نظر القضية.
الوسط – Ù¦ مايو ٢٠٠٧

This is just too interesting to let go of as it contains all the elements of a cheap novel!

It’s got a gullible protagonist who wants to get rich quick and falls in the honey-pot of the antagonist who is a known con man who convinces him that the best way of doing so is leasing his hotel for a seemingly reasonable figure, especially when you consider the takings of just the booze sale in that sub 5-star establishment which contains everything a prowling sex-tourist is looking for.

Hands are shaken and the protagonist hands over sackfuls of cash in the form of post-dated cheques and assigns a resident hotel manager to ensure that the guests are well taken care of and hence the cash intake continues to flow.

That’s when the antagonist puts his plan into action – probably unbeknown to the protagonist – and stands for public office, one that he is carried on paid shoulders to by resolutely defeating the incumbent.

As the election promises were religious in nature – which is the cheapest sure ticket in the arsenal and one that is readily accepted by the neophyte and paid-for voters – he has hit several nails with one strike of the hammer: He mounted a campaign to clean up his constituency from prostitution and went on the rampage as a vigilante knight-in-not-so-shining-armour and apprehended several hookers and presented them to the police, he filed complaints against some 40 establishments in his area which he claimed are dens of drink and prostitution (his hotel was obviously omitted from that illustrious list) and generally made a fool of himself to the authorities so much so that the ministry of interior slapped him down and told him to mind his own business and that it is the police’s job and not his to go around catching wayward prostitutes.

No mater, he demonstrated his “purity” to his financially encouraged and Islamically correct constituents that he legally no longer operates a hotel in which patrons relax through copious flow of non-Islamically sanctified liquids but gets paid a generous lease for nevertheless.

His hands are clean, conscience non-existent, bank balance remains healthy enough for a pretty nice big black bling of a car (probably several). It is no wonder that this newly elected MP promised to donate all or a large part of his parliamentary salary to the benefit of his newly acquired constituents! When he receives nine times that salary from the lease of the hotel, I understand the generosity.

You would think that the relationship – beneficial as it has proven to be for all involved – would have continued as is, save for one little thing: that Islamic ticket the newly anointed MP was riding. He had to continue to at least appear as a “protector of the faith”, therefore he chose to support and vote for the banning of the sale of alcohol and shutting down of entertainment venues in sub five-star hotels, a decision which will include his hotel obviously.

That was the deal-breaker.

Chasing prostitutes and closing down or at least harassing competing businesses in the area was one thing, it was actually good business, everyone was directed to relax in that there establishment, one that was supposedly ensured by his excellency not to be harassed. But voting to shut down the main source of revenue, uh uh, this cannot be stood for.

That’s when the claws came out and cat-fights ensued.

The protagonist proved to be quite a proficient con man himself. He set up his “joker”. He authorised his resident hotel manager to sign lease cheques on his behalf.

When the investor saw the huge drop in revenue – as no one would want to stay in that dump anyway – he started screaming blue-murder and wanted to cancel the lease agreement. He even filed suit against the antagonist to retrieve what is left of his post-dated cheques, the total of which were about million dollars. So it’s no chicken feed. It’s a hefty sum that would keep the honey flowing for our newly anointed MP.

The investor probably finally realised that trying to get the cheques back were a futile exercise and chasing it through legal channels (in a dry country which takes the tenets of Islamic Shari’a rather seriously) was bound to failure. So what is a guy to do?

Clean up the account and run!

The end of the month came, our guy wanted to get his blingy car filled up with petrol, tried to cash the cheque, and, it bounced!

Oh ho! What to do now? Okay okay, try to solve it amicably and I suspect quite a number of high-decibel conversations took place between the parties concerned, things dragged on and another month came and went and another cheque bounced. The well was definitely running dry(er) so the owner went to the police with the bounced cheques. He wanted his money.

We can’t have that. In Bahrain you would probably receive a more lenient sentence for a heinous crime than for bouncing a cheque. What’s wrong with you? This is money and that takes precedence!

The police has to act, and act they did.

Who signed those cheques?

Bring the bastard in.

And we have another poor Indian rotting in prison for no (total) fault of his own other than probably personal greed and gullibility.

The rest, as you can imagine, would be very interesting to find out over the coming months.

Stay tuned to the saga of conning the con man!


The minister recants and withdraws case

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Very quickly after lodging an official complaint with the Public Prosecution, the Minister of Electricity and Water has recanted and withdrawn the libel case against a municipal councillor after mediation efforts by the councilor’s colleagues.

استجاب وزير الكهرباء الشيخ عبد الله بن سلمان آل خليفة للجهود المكثفة التي قام بها رئيسا مجلسي بلدي الشمالية والوسطى يوسف البوري وعبدالرحمن الحسن، وقرر سحب الشكوى التي كانت الوزارة قد تقدمت بها للنيابة العامة ضد عضو بلدي الوسطى صادق ربيع، على خلفية اتهاماته للوزارة بالفساد في مؤتمر صحافي عقده الشهر الماضي.

وكان الوزير، قد استقبل أمس (الخميس) وفداً بلدياً ضم رئيس بلدي الشمالية يوسف البوري والوسطى عبدالرحمن الحسن، ونائبه عباس محفوظ، إضافة إلى عضو بلدي الوسطى صادق ربيع، وذلك للتفاهم والتنسيق بشأن القضية المشار إليها، فيما ثمن بلدي الوسطى، موقف الوزير واستجابته مشكورا بسحب القضية من النيابة العامة، على أن تسلم جميع الملفات ذات العلاقة للوزير لدراستها ومتابعتها مع المجلس البلدي
الوقت – ٢٠/Ù¤/٢٠٠٧

This is good news of course. Apart from the fact that – in an impartial judicial system – there is no way that the minister would win this case; the Ministry of Electricity’s reputation in particular is far from pure, he has shown complete intolerance to criticism and rather than asking for the allegations to be brought forward to be rationally discussed and any shortcomings identified and eradicated, he has taken the now fashionable line which is “sue now, ask questions later.”

What was the end result of this action then? A meeting between the two protagonists took place and promises were made that the shortcomings identified by the municipal councillor will be documented and treated.

Why this was not done from day one and save time and spent reputations is anyone’s guess. The result as far as I can see is that it has now become de rigeur to sue without any thought at what these actions by high officials actually do to the reputation of the country as a whole.