By Courtney Trenwith
More expected to be charged as the Interior Ministry continues investigation into 462 suspected violations in gov’t bodies
Eight government officials in Bahrain have been suspended in connection with 25 corruption cases under investigation, Gulf Daily News has reported.
More suspensions may follow as the Interior Ministry's Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security Directorate reviews another 33 claims resulting from an audit.
A total of 462 violations in government departments and firms were identified in the National Audit Office's 2012 report. Of those, 404 relate to procedural breaches and have been referred to the ministry.
Minister of State for Implementation Affairs Mohammed Al Mutawa said five of the 25 corruption cases had been referred to the Public Prosecution and another five were expected to be referred for legal action within two weeks.
They include 13 violations at the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry, seven at state-owned steel company Alba and one each at the Bahrain Flour Mills Company, the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution, Bapco, the Works Ministry and the Housing Ministry.
Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security Directorate director-general Major Bassam Al Miraj said the international crime organisation Interpol would be used to help track down suspects who had fled the country.
Al Mutawa insisted department and company heads also would be punished if found to have participated in corruption.
"We don't have red or green lights in relation to violators. [Even if] they are connected to others on top of the chain, justice will prevail,” Al Mutawa was quoted as saying.
"Since the violations were committed in 2012, even those who are not in power or have left their seats will be followed for justice.
"The executive committee is focused on adequate scrutiny of public funds and improved coordination among government entities.”
In other measures to crackdown on corruption, the ministry has ordered government bodies to establish a link on their websites where allegations or concerns can be reported.
The financial auditing directorate that was previously axed will be re-launched within the Finance Ministry and mystery customers would be used to test government employees.
Al Miraj said 72 cases of alleged corruption had been referred to prosecutors since 2011. A verdict had been issued in one case.