A heated discussion over bribery accusations against some government establishments broke out at the Council of Representatives during its weekly meeting yesterday. The debate between MP Abdulrahman Buali and Shura Council and Representative Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain began after the former claimed that corruption has spread in government entities, specifically the municipalities.
“Why did we come to this situation. Bribery has spread, not only in the municipalities but in many areas and establishments in Bahrain,” the lawmaker stated while demanding state officials to look into this dangerous matter”.
His statements came while discussing a reply of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf to queries the MP had submitted earlier related to the reasons behind limiting the services and authorities of Hidd Municipality, the area Buali represents.
Buali, who also heads the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee in the council, claimed that he discovered corruption cases at Muharraq Municipality, which is in charge of providing municipal services to the entire Muharraq Governorate, including Hidd after its municipality was apparently stripped off most of its jurisdictions a few years back.
He said, “It’s extremely difficult nowadays to receive services from Muharraq Municipality because of the widespread of bribery in it. I am responsible for my statements and I have the evidence to support them. There are administrative, legal and ethical violations in Muharraq Municipality. I am willing to personally lead the minister to the areas where such violations have occurred.”
Buali’s statements irked Al Buainain, who strongly rejected his accusations and defended the credibility of government institutions.
“These statements are not supported by any proof. MP Buali offended the government. I hope that his entire statement would be deleted from the records of the session. If the MP has any evidence, he should provide it to the Public Prosecution or the specialised constitutional authorities in the Kingdom,” the minister commented.
Then, Minister Khalaf disclosed that some violations were detected at the municipalities and affirmed that they were strictly dealt with.
Khalaf said, “There are tens of similar violations that were detected and stopped in the municipalities. The violations mentioned by the MP are not acceptable and must be verified and probed so that legal procedures would be taken. We have activated an auditing department that reports directly to the minister’s office to monitor all the departments in the ministry.”
Following Minister Khalaf’s speech, Buali insisted on the authenticity of his claims and rejected what Minister Al Buainain said.
“I haven’t made any false accusations against the government. Minister Khalaf confirmed that there are violations that were detected and stopped,” Buali added.
The discussion went back and forth between Buali and Al Buainain, until the Speaker of the House Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al Mulla asked the present 29 MPs at the session to vote on the minister’s request to delete Buali’s statements from the session’s records, but the majority of MPs voted against the minister’s request and supported their fellow MP.
The session’s agenda also included discussing and voting on several bills and proposals. The council voted for increasing the allowances of unemployed citizens from BD150 to BD200 for university degree holders and BD150 to holders of lower academic qualifications.