Country Governance

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Skip Navigation LinksPOGAR > Countries > Country Theme: Anti-Corruption: Kuwait
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UN Conventions and Other Agreements

United Nations Convention against Corruption: signed 9 December 2003, not yet ratified.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: signed 12 December 2000, ratified with reservations on 12 May 2006.

Kuwait is a founding member 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.

Kuwait does not have a national chapter of Transparency International.

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Government Institutions and Initiatives

Kuwait has no special commissions or institutions charged with eliminating corruption but in October 2004 merged economic and legal standing sub-committees of the Council of Ministers to address the issue of corruption in the public sector. Four working groups were set up to advise the Council on new procedures. The Council also established committee within the Finance Ministry to devise a code of conduct for dealing with “unsolicited offers” that private businesspeople propose in return for access to scarce public land. In February 2005 the Council adopted a resolution against conflicts of interests, resulting in the removal serving judges of advisory positions in government.

The Kuwaiti parliament has a permanent committee charged with the protection of public funds, and members of parliament also question ministers and can vote to remove them for improprieties.

Kuwait's criminal court sentenced two Kuwaiti citizens in absentia, on December 26, 2004, for embezzling $200 million from the funds of the public investments authority. Fahd Al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and the vice chairman of the investments authority, Fuad Jafar, was given a thirty year sentence.

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Civil Society Initiatives

The Citizens Services and Government Bodies Assessment Agency (C2G) is an ad hoc monitoring agency originally mandated by the Council of Ministers, in consultation with the World Bank, to investigate corruption in the public sector and formulate a strategy to combat it. Its “secret” report was leaked to the press in December 2004. The press also published allegations of embezzlement in the Ministry of Public Works that subsequent investigation by the Public Prosecutor discovered to involve 35 employees, including senior staff. Several parliamentary investigations, especially concerning arms procurement and military contracts, led to dissolution of the legislature in 2006 to prevent further public discussion. Since 94 per cent of the Kuwaiti work force is employed by the government and public sector, critical Kuwaiti economists suggest that any streamlining of government for the sake of combating corruption is bound to be limited.

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Public Procurement

The Central Tenders Committee, which is attached to the Council of Ministers, administers all public tenders. The Commercial Law 36/1964, amended by Law 68/1980, requires that foreign companies may only sell to ministries through a Kuwaiti company or an agent who is a Kuwait citizen.

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Anti Money Laundering

Law 35 of 2002 strengthened Kuwait’s Anti-Money Laundering system, and measures have been taken against the abuse of charitable organizations. The National Committee on AML was reorganized in April 2004.

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Corruption Perception Index

Kuwait scored 4.1 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2009. The scale runs from 0 (high corruption) to 10 (no corruption). It in the 66th rank among 180 countries, placing it ahead of Morocco, however behind Tunisia. Kuwait had scored 4.3 in 2008 and ranked 65th among the 180 countries in the world behind Jordan and Tunisia but ahead of Morocco and Saudi Arabia. In 2007, Kuwait scored 4.3 it came just behind Jordan but ahead of Tunisia, in 60th place among 180 countries. In 2006 Kuwait scored 4.8 and was also ranked between Jordan and Tunisia, in 46th place among 163 countries.

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