By Courtney Trenwith
New KPA chief vows to prosecute anyone involved in corruption; has suspended tenders to have them re-evaluated
The new director of the Kuwait Ports Authority has publicly addressed corruption and absenteeism concerns, vowing to crackdown on both.
Sheikh Yousef Al Abdullah Al Sabah, who was appointed three weeks ago, said he would launch an internal investigation and address any corruption allegations.
“We won’t hide any corruption, and will let people know about the procedures we will take to correct past mistakes,” he was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times.
“We will be cooperating with the Audit Bureau, government performance follow-up agency, the Anti-Corruption Authority, Ministry of Interior and others by providing all information, data and documents related to KPA work, contracts and relations.
“We will appoint an internal financial auditor and a criminal auditor to do an exact inventory to prevent any corruption.”
Existing tenders also would be suspended while they were re-evaluated, he said.
“I promise to punish any violator or corrupt employee and take legal action against them,” Al Sabah said.
The tender process also would be re-evaluated to ensure the highest levels of transparency were in place.
Al Sabah said he had received a 108-page report from the Audit Bureau on irregularities and potential violations within the authority, which he was using as a starting point.
“One of the most serious problems that we face is absenteeism among employees that even reaches 90 percent,” he was quoted as saying.
“We also have decaying utilities and harbours, and mixing of responsibilities with the Ministry of Commerce and the Public Authority for Industry. In fact, some of the dilapidated utilities are not under KPA’s responsibility, and we will solve this problem and return these properties.”
On a positive note, Al Sabah also said he had plans for new projects.
“We will start work on a mega project which will be the biggest or second biggest land port in Shuaiba, which should encourage and increase the commercial activity in this port and relieve the pressure on Shuwaikh Port,” he said.
“Also, instead of depending on private companies to do the onshore work for us, we will employ skilled manpower and train our employees so they will do it. Since KPA is doing the entire offshore work, which is more difficult, we can definitely do the onshore work as well.”