Bahrain Joins Anti-Corruption Agreement

In a courageous step, the Government agreed to join the UN Convention against Corruption and passed the bill to the House of Representatives for ratification. According to the agreement, Bahrain must establish an independent anti- corruption committee, promote integrity, honesty and responsibility amongst its employees and take the necessary procedures to promote transparency and accountability in the administration of public money. This includes procedures relating to the adoption of a national budget, reporting on income and spending and establishing a system that includes standards for accountability and account control.

Also, the agreement commits the Government to take procedures which allow the public to obtain information regarding the orginisation of Goverment administration, decision-making, legal contracts which affect the general public; this is taking into consideration their confidentiality and respecting their privacy and their personal information.

The agreement also obliges the Government to publicize periodic reports regarding the danger of corruption in its departments, the judicial system and Public Prosecutor’s Office. It should also take procedures which prevent the private sector from getting involved in corruption and impose when necessary civil, administrative and criminal deterrent punishments.

Also, in order to spread awareness with regards to corruption and its causes and dangers. The agreement obliges the Government to promote transparency in the decision-making process and encourage the participation of citizens in it and the organization of media related events/activities which help spread awareness about the seriousness of this issue. This is in addition to respecting and protecting the freedom of receiving, publishing and publicizing information relating to corruption.

The signing of the Convention against Corruption fits the demands of the Bahraini civil society which repeatedly called for the ratification of the Convention. Many political and human rights figures have expressed their satisfaction. Al Wifaq MP, Jalal Fairouz, praised the Government’s attitude towards joining the Convention. He said that: “although overdue, the signing was a step in the right direction and Bahrain needs such conventions”. In addition to this, the Secretary General of Al Wasat Al Arabi Al Islami Society, Dr. Jasim Almihzaa, commented on the issue by stating that Government’s approval fulfills an important demand for all political and public parties. He also added that the issue of corruption should never be abandoned. Moreover, Abdul Nabi Salman, member of the Democratic Progressive Society, said that the call for the final ratification of this Convention is for the benefit of Bahrain and that this step is very pleasing; adding that the ratification of the Convention will reflect positively on Bahrain’s reputation, legislations and on the general development of the country.