Corrupt civil servants face stricter penalties
CIVIL servants convicted of embezzlement or corruption will face stricter penalties under amendments to the 1976 Penal Code approved unanimously by the Shura Council yesterday.
Punishments for offences such as embezzlement, blackmail, accepting bribes and nepotism in the public sector will all increase under the new bill.
The recommendations were approved by parliament in March – with support from the Interior Ministry and the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry – in an effort to safeguard public funds.
The bill, which amends 15 articles, will be ratified by His Majesty King Hamad and states that a minimum 10-year jail sentence could be introduced for civil servants convicted of embezzlement or corruption.
Accepting bribes for a promise of providing government services would result in no less than five years in jail, compared with three years currently.
Those who fulfil their promise after receiving a bribe will get an automatic 10 years in jail.
The same sentence would be applied for stealing public money and collecting additional unwarranted fees from the public, while negligent investments of government money could result in a minimum five-year jail sentence.
Private company officials who fail to adhere to government contracts could also get 10 years in jail, as well as civil servants who fail to report supply shortages or botched work.
Anyone attempting to bribe a public official would be jailed for one year, up from three months at present.
Those who use force to prevent others from carrying out their job would be sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined up to BD5,000, while people who use threats or force to acquire public services could get three years in jail.
“The current articles in the Penal Code do not address the seriousness of the crime and over the years it has proven to be of a major destructive nature to the way things need to be attended or managed,” said Shura Council member Nancy Khadoury.
“The government-drafted amendments combat corruption and enable good work practices.”