KUWAIT: Directors of governorates’ branches at Kuwait Municipality are reportedly being excluded from investigations in a corruption case that was discovered recently, a local daily reported yesterday quoting sources.
A recent report claimed that a case was discovered involving the embezzlement of the municipality’s revenues during the period between 2011 and 2015. Al-Rai reported yesterday that there have been attempts to keep directors of governorates’ branches out of the investigations, despite the fact that the municipality’s Administrative Development and Training Department had indicated they are responsible for collecting and sending the revenues to the municipality’s fund.
Al-Rai had also reported last week that Kuwait Municipality placed 40,000 bank guarantees under scrutiny after discovering actions that led to the release of several of them using forged documents, as the financial department began reaching leads to the existence of an organized gang that has machines and tools to forge guarantees without involving banks.
A high ranking source at the municipality said State Minister for Municipality Affairs and Communications Essa Al-Kandari sent several forged bank guarantees to the public prosecution after Deputy Director General for Financial and Administrative Affairs Waleed Al-Jassim discovered forgeries in the stamps and signatures of banks and some municipality officials estimated in the millions, adding that the latest referral to the prosecution was the release of a KD 40,000 guarantee on Dec 28, 2015.
He added that the municipality follows a mechanism that refers any forged guarantee directly to the prosecution to avoid any delays in the investigation, especially since the financial and administrative department asks for canceling the guarantee from records in case of its release, adding that the municipality has more than 40,000 bank guarantees, and they are all being reviewed.
He said that there is an integrated and organized gang that has machines and tools to forge bank guarantees without the need to go to banks, adding that this gang negotiates with companies on how to release the guarantees in exchange of a cut that may reach 10 percent. He said the banks provided the municipality with official letters stating that they did not issue guarantees to some companies, which confirms that they do not have any link with any data, signatures or stamps that belong to them. He said the majority of forged bank guarantees have accumulated over many years and not just over the past two years as it has been rumored.
He said that there is unlimited cooperation with the Audit Bureau to expose events related to guarantees, as the municipality prepared a detailed report on it, according to its latest report. – Al-Rai