Clamping down on corruption in Bahrain
The 575-page 2015 annual report was released on 4 November and was covered in detail by all of Bahrain’s media outlets. Parliament has become increasingly assertive in ensuring that all examples of financial and administrative mismanagement of a suspected criminal nature be forwarded to the Public Prosecution for investigation and action, and that ministers be held accountable for failings in their departments.
Although this report is negative in the sense that it shows where Bahraini institutions are failing; the report is also constructive in making these shortcoming transparent and creating the conditions for action to be taken and performance improved.
Many of the shortcomings cited below were already, to some degree, known about and were being discussed as challenges to be addressed through legislation, administrative reform and action against incompetent officials.
We hope that this document becomes a blueprint for decisive action across all levels of government in order to better serve the public and ensure that the wealth of the nation is spent for the benefit of the nation.
Below are some examples of the key findings:
- Public debt levels could endanger the nation as a result of inability to meet financial obligations to debtors. A high proportion of new debt has been used servicing previous debt.
- The report found that Budget allocations to several government departments were “unrealistic”. The report also found other weaknesses in the drafting of the Budget which could adversely impact implementation of key projects.
- Several departments were found to have significantly overspent their allotted budgets, while others had massively underspent as a result of not implementing planned projects.
- Overtime paid to Salmaniya Hospital employees without following correct procedures. Staff found to have taken unacceptable periods of absence.
- 96% of doctors have not received required vaccinations.
- Food unfit for consumption served in schools. School meals not systematically inspected by Ministry.
- Large quantities of unused medicines left in warehouses. Medicines ordered without being required. Wastage of medicine allowed to exceed expiry date. Lack of records on dispensed medicines. Medicines repeatedly dispensed to same patients on same day because of poor record-keeping.
- Price increases in medicines blamed on mismanagement.
- Teachers compelled to work unpaid overtime; despite human resources staff being paid overtime for organizing events as part of their normal duties.
- Failure of the Ministry to put in place coherent plans for employing new teaching staff.
Social Development Ministry
- Outdated data used for calculating payments to low income families.
- The Ministry failed to apply effective criteria for allotment of benefits.
- Irregularities over backdated payments and payments to Bahraini families living abroad.
- Long delays in adoption and child care services.
- Employees promoted in violation of promotion freeze.
- Overtime pay of nearly BD 400,000 given, without logging reasons.
- BD 18m given in early retirement payments over one year.
- Conflicts of interest discovered on board of directors.
National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA)
- Failure to monitor available stocks of medicines.
- Most medicines registered since 2013 were not tested.
- NRHA lab not properly accredited and poorly equipped.
- Suppliers were not required to test medicines prior to importation.
Bahrain International Circuit
- Tenders were approved by board members, without approval from Mumtalakat Holding Company. Proper tendering procedures not followed.
- Board members failed to register potential conflicts of interest in deals conducted with companies.
Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Ministry
- Failure to effectively monitor meat imports so as to ensure compliance with international standards.
- Failure to take action against illegally operating slaughter houses.
- Last year, only 170 of 511 outlets supplied by the Bahrain Livestock Company were inspected.
- A ban on imports from Sudan and Pakistan reportedly harmed domestic markets.
- Importers were not compelled to use sealed containers in compliance with health and safety standards.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Increase in costs of national day parties in diplomatic missions.