UN Conventions and Other Agreements
United Nations Convention against Corruption: signed 8 February 2005, not ratified.
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: accession 7 June 2004.
Bahrain is a founding member and hosts the offices of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, established on 30 November 2004 as a voluntary regional association to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Bahrain Transparency Society is the national contact with Transparency International.
Government Institutions and Initiatives
The Public Sector Administrative and Finances Monitoring Committee was created in January 2002 to ensure the effective and efficient operation of public institutions. One of its first tasks was to examine the effectiveness of existing policies in countering corruption, and to propose legislation to correct any deficiencies found.
Civil Society Initiatives
There have been isolated cases of corruption in recent years. One particularly flagrant case involved a military official threatening to bring charges against bankers in the now abolished Security Courts if they did not lend him money. This case resulted in the creation of a special commission to study corruption in May 2002. This decision was lauded by the Bahrain Transparency Society, the Transparency International Affiliate in Bahrain. In general, Bahrain has a reasonably strong record of preventing and prosecuting corruption.
The Committee for the Activation of the National Charter approved a new Public Tenders Law in September 2001. The law establishes a Council for Tenders to audit the allocation of government contracts. Members of the Council and their relatives are not permitted to bid for government contracts.
Anti Money Laundering
Bahrain has taken an active regional role in combating money laundering. In November 2004 Bahrain was the meeting place for the founding of the international Financial Action Task Force’s regional Middle East and North African arm, and MENAFATF’s first plenary session assembled the representatives of 14 MENA states in Bahrain in April 2005. Already in 1993 Bahrain had set up a special finance committee of officials from the Bahrain Monetary Authority (BMA) and the Ministry of the Interior to combat money laundering. The BMA established special unit in 2001 to insure that the financial sector was complying with regulations.
Corruption Perception Index
Bahrain scored 5.1 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2009. The scale runs from 0 (high corruption) to 10 (no corruption). It ranked 46 out of 180 ahead of Jordan right behind Oman. Bahrain had scored 5.4 in 2008 and was at the 43rd place, among 180 countries in the world ranking 4th among the 18 Arab countries. In 2007, Bahrain was in 46th place, ahead of all the other Arab countries except the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, among 180 countries in the world. In 2006 Bahrain scored 5.7 and was in 36th place among 163 countries in the world.