7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Watchdog for graft on way

A TRANSPARENCY commission may be established in Bahrain soon, an MP said yesterday.

Parliament first vice-chairman Dr Abdulhadi Marhoon said that he is in the process of drafting legislation for the body, which will include input from MPs, academics, activists and other parties.

He said the commission would monitor corruption and work with legislators to create tougher laws to combat corruption in the country.

Among laws that would be strengthened include those monitoring financial transparency.

"We tried to launch such a commission some time back, but there wasn't much enthusiasm from some other MPs - who said we had other priorities to take care of," he said.

Dr Marhoon suggested that the commission could eventually be linked to a regional anti-corruption body if it is established.

He was speaking at the launch of a new book by Transparency International (TI) called Arab Integrity System, which outlines a strategy for governments and NGOs to follow to combat corruption.

Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS) president and TI Bahrain representative Dr Jassim Al Ajmi said the book discusses in detail what measures should be taken, including the establishment of certain organisations to monitor and battle corruption.

"This includes the establishment of audit bureaus, anti-corruption commissions, tender boards and other bodies if they don't already exist in the Arab country in question," he said.

"It also suggests a reform of the judiciary, which must be independent, efficient and effective.

"Freedom of speech and freedom of the Press are also essential ingredients for better transparency."

Dr Al Ajmi said that combating corruption could greatly help to increase a country's productivity and improve the standard of living of its citizens.

He said that even the least corrupt Arab countries don't measure too well at the international level.

"Bahrain, for example, is the fourth highest among Arab countries after Oman, the UAE and Qatar, but only 36th among the 159 countries listed on TI's Corruption Perceptions Index 2005," he added.

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