An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by government officials, but the government did not implement the law effectively. Observers believed officials engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were numerous reports of government corruption during the year. The Anti-Corruption Authority (ACA) is charged with receiving and analyzing complaints and forwarding complaints to the appropriate authorities in either the Public Prosecutor’s Office or police for further investigation or action. As of November the ACA had received 424 corruption reports (109 reports were administratively closed, 261 were pending reviewing by the Reports Reception Department, and 54 were under investigation). The ACA referred eight reports to the Public Prosecutor during the same period.

There were many reports that individuals had to pay intermediaries to receive routine government services. Police corruption was a problem, especially when one party to a dispute had a personal relationship with a police official involved in a case. Widespread reports indicated that police favored citizens over noncitizens. There were several reports of corruption in the procurement and bidding processes for lucrative government contracts.

All judicial officers received training on corruption and transparency obligations as part of the Judicial Institute’s official curriculum.

Corruption: The State Audit Bureau is responsible for supervising public expenses and revenues and for preventing misuse or manipulation of public funds. The government distributes reports by the State Audit Bureau annually to the amir, prime minister, head of parliament, and minister of finance. The public did not have access to these reports. Parliament’s Committee on the Protection of Public Funds frequently announced inquiries into suspected misuse of public funds. In January the Minister of State for Assembly Affairs Mubarak al-Harees announced that the cabinet issued a resolution urging all governmental bodies to establish auditing and inspection departments and to monitor closely financial and administrative affairs in order to protect public funds.

In January former minister of health Dr. Ali al-Obaidi and two undersecretaries at the ministry were removed from their positions, sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labor, ordered to refund $81 million, and fined them double that sum.

In January the Public Prosecutor referred the case of a multibillion dollar Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft deal to the investigation committee of a special court that investigates ministerial-level crimes. The case involved kickbacks from the inflated costs of the purchase of 28 aircraft. In July, Sheikh Sabah Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, the son of a former prime minister, and his reported business partner Hamad al-Wazzan were arrested and released on bail over money laundering related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) scandal, according to Kuwaiti and UK news outlets. In July the Court of Cassation upheld a Court of Appeals ruling sentencing a colonel at the Ministry of Interior to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor, and several foreign residents to jail terms ranging between seven and 10 years, after they were convicted of misappropriation and laundering funds from the Police Cooperative Society. In September the ACA stated it had received more than 300 reports of corruption and referred 40 cases to the Public Prosecution since its inception in 2016.

Investigations have uncovered widespread use of false academic credentials by citizens and foreign residents in the public and private sectors, exposing a lack of transparency in the hiring and promotion of officials and fraud. In July several high-ranking Ministry of Interior officials were implicated in a scandal involving forged higher education degree certificates.

Financial Disclosure: As of November the ACA announced that 9,605 government officials were required by law to present financial disclosures. Of those, 8,351 had submitted their disclosures. Between January 1 and March 12, a total of 430 officials were referred to the Public Prosecutor for failure to submit their disclosures. The government implemented a forgiveness period starting March 12 for those who could prove their submissions were delayed due to COVID-19.

Human Rights Reports
Edit Your Custom Report

01 / Select a Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future