Kuwait corruption inquiry expands as new suspicious account reported

October 7, 2011

Burgan Bank has reported a Kuwaiti lawmaker to the public prosecution on suspicion his bank account had been unusually expanded, a local daily said.

According to Al Jareeda, the bank alerted the authorities after it noticed that unusual amounts were deposited into the account of the MP from the Fifth Constituency.

The investigation unit of Kuwait Central Bank is now expected to take up the probe and freeze the suspicious account, Al Jareeda said.

According to the daily, the bank accounts of 15 lawmakers are now being investigated amid a scandal that rocked the country about alleged “political” money given to several lawmakers to influence their views.

Two other banks, the National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House, had alerted the public prosecution about other suspicious bank accounts.

The investigation was launched after Al Qabas daily published on August 20 a report claiming that large amounts of money were injected in the bank accounts of two MPs.

In the report, Al Qabas said that one MP received KD 17 million ($61,347,500) and the second KD 8 million ($28,869,400) over a period of few days, causing concerns within the bank. Under Kuwait laws, banks must check the origin of any deposit exceeding KD 3,000 ($10,826).

The paper did not name either of the lawmakers, prompting several MPs to demand publicly a full investigation in a bid to distance themselves from any suspicions.

Al Qabas said that it would not divulge the names unless the legal authorities cleared the way, even though several social networks named two MPs, claiming their accounts had been suddenly swollen.

Banks opted not to reveal information about lawmakers’ accounts despite strong social pressure.

However, MP Ahmad Al Saadoon asked the finance minister to provide answers for the KD 25 million ($90,216,900) deposits.

Under the Kuwaiti law, banks are required to refer suspicions in transactions or deposits to the public prosecution.

Several lawmakers called for endorsing a petition that would make all lawmakers reveal their bank accounts and those of their wives and children.

The move has however been stalled by privacy concerns expressed by some MPs.

Some lawmakers have nevertheless held press conferences and revealed their accounts in a move to stay out of the unprecedented controversy that has shrouded the nation.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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