Dirty money

Muna Al-Fuzai

Money laundering and human trafficking are crimes that no honorable person or transparent system can accept or tolerate for any reason. Suspicions have risen about it in recent years, leading people to express their concerns and fears about the spread of this ugly and negative phenomenon of making rapid wealth without an evident source of income.

Naturally, security authorities investigate the issue when they have conclusive evidence, but the emergence of such crimes or suspicions in Kuwait are dangerous and disturbing for Kuwaitis and expats, with implications of such cases on the economic and social situation, especially the youth.

Socially, the spread of dirty money crimes in any society will lead to the creation of class differences due to the emergence of a new and alien social class that is extremely wealthy without a clear source of income. Such a matter has serious repercussions on young people, as it sends a wrong message that has no value for education, science or work – that you can get a lot of money that reaches in the millions by doing activities that do not require a degree, a certificate of study or experience. So it is expected that the community could be subjected to tremors.

Since I believe that a citizen is a role model for the expatriate in the importance of adhering to laws and fighting corruption, unfortunately, sometimes we find ourselves facing crimes committed by expatriates working for companies that are owned by citizens.

One of the most prominent crimes was published in dailies during the past week that is still under investigation. The interior ministry said that it arrested a “Bangladeshi” involved in money laundering and human trafficking in the country, while two of his partners managed to escape from the country. The case was exposed after some workers complained that their salaries had been stopped for more than five months, and others found their salaries were less than what they had agreed upon.

A report published in Kuwait indicated that these people brought more than 20,000 Bangladeshi workers on government cleaning contracts in exchange for large sums of money, exceeding KD 50 million. They have Bangladeshi representatives who work for them to bring in Bangladeshi workers for large sums of money, with a single residency ranging from KD 1,800 to 2,200 for a worker, and for a driver from KD 2,500 to 3,000. Surprisingly, one of the suspects holds a major position in his country, while he is also a director of a local company. The file of the company has been suspended.

In 2019, 12 companies were shut down by the Kuwaiti government due to suspicions of money laundering and illegal financing activities. Kuwait has law no. 106 of 2013 on combating money laundering and terrorist financing, which was published in the official gazette on May 26, 2013. These laws and decisions came after the authorities discovered hugely inflated bank accounts of social media celebrities, with transfers of large amounts of money from their accounts.

Nevertheless, there is a lot of talk about suspicions of money laundering and human trafficking operations, but the security authorities cannot arrest or investigate with anyone without clear evidence. The importance of fighting dirty money crimes is important to prevent members of society from benefiting from corruption, especially as these suspicious and illegal funds are transferred from one country to another, crossing borders. Therefore, no country or institution should encourage the process of money laundering or turn a blind eye to the huge money that enters it, especially developing countries.