Most firms involved in visa trading remain unpunished; Visa trafficker arrested – Govt accused of being selective

KUWAIT: Authorities yesterday ordered the arrest of a key visa trafficker who recruited 1,500 expatriates on fake work permits for KD 1,500 each, but a lawmaker charged that only a quarter of the more than 1,300 companies involved in visa trafficking have been referred for prosecution. MP Saud Al-Huraiji criticized the government’s handling of the issue, saying that the current government policy is not sufficient to end such abuses.

Huraiji said that based on official statistics, authorities have been selective in referring visa trafficking companies to the public prosecution for trial. He said that based on figures he received from the interior minister, only 336 companies have been referred to the public prosecution out of 1,368 firms found involved in visa trafficking.

The lawmaker said that the interior minister did not explain what measures have been taken against the remaining companies and on what basis only a few companies have been sent for criminal investigation. In his reply, the interior minister said that his ministry has been closely coordinating with the ministry of social affairs and labor to bring to account paper companies that have no activities but deal with visa trading.

MP Saadoun Hammad yesterday urged the government to accept the resignation of Minister of Electricity and Water and Public Works Ahmad Al-Jassar, saying that he will file to grill him if he does not quit. Jassar submitted his resignation on Tuesday to the Cabinet after a court convicted him of squandering public funds for authorizing a faulty contract in 2007, when he was a senior official at the ministry of electricity. The court sentenced him along with 14 officials to dismissal from service, two years in jail and asked them to pay a bail of KD 1,000 each to suspend the implementation of the jail term. The court also fined them KD 20,000 each.

MP Hammad said that he has drawn the attention of authorities to rampant financial and administrative violations committed in the ministry of public works. The lawmaker said that a grilling against Jassar is ready and will be filed at the start of the new parliamentary term later this month, and the issue of the 2007 contract will be added to it.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 01/10/2015