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Monday, June 14, 2021

Qatar asks residents to act as whistleblowers exposing corruption

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New public prosecution campaign
New public prosecution campaign

In a new push to weed out corruption and graft, Qatar’s public prosecution’s office has launched an advertising campaign urging residents to act as government whistleblowers.

Yesterday, the campaign debuted with an advertisement in Al Raya. The main text states, “Qatar deserves to be protected from corruption.”

One rendition of the three wise monkeys maxim
One rendition of the three wise monkeys maxim

In a play on the famous maxim of the three wise monkeys, who “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” this ad features two men and a woman pantomiming, “I hear, I see and I speak.”

In an interview with Doha News, a representative at the public prosecution’s office explained that the aim of the campaign was to encourage Qatar residents to report financial corruption in government organizations, including bribes and embezzlement of public funds.

“The complaint could be against any regular employee in the government sector or a high-ranking official like the vice president of an organization,” he said.

The ad states that corruption causes “economic, political and social instability.”

Speaking to Al Raya, many businessmen said that the private sector in Qatar suffers a great deal from corruption, especially when companies illegally win bids and contracts through bribes, while other law-abiding companies are left to suffer from financial loss.

The advertisement also promises, “The hand of justice will catch you.”

"We All See You"
“We All See You”

This is not the first time that Qatar has sought help from residents in keeping the country in pristine shape.

Last year, authorities launched a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing littering, abandoning vehicles and spitting in public, among other bad habits.

However, the campaign’s billboards and posters – some of which depicted a cartoon silhouette of a boy peeking out from behind a table with the text “We all see you/You are not alone” – caused confusion and concern among some residents who said it made them feel like the government was spying on them.

Corruption

Although Qatar is considered one of the least corrupt countries in the Middle East, the nation has been stepping up efforts to eradicate corruption from the public sector since the new Emir took power in 2013.

Lower criminal court in Doha
Lower criminal court in Doha

In April 2014 for example, a Syrian woman was convicted of trying to bribe a Civil Defense officer in Qatar, as part of the ongoing government crackdown building safety, following the deadly 2012 Villiago Mall fire.

She remains out of jail pending her appeal verdict. If the lower court’s ruling is upheld, she faces a year in prison and deportation to her home country – as well as the forfeiture of QR10,000.

In December, Qatar moved up two spots to 26th out of 175 countries around the world in terms of perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to a 2014 index.

While it maintained its favorable status, the 2014 report stated that graft and related issues remain the biggest challenge in the Middle East:

”Political elites in the region have systematically abused their authority and operate with often startling levels of impunity. They have safeguarded their personal interests through undue influence and networks of patronage,” the report said.

Secrecy

Residents who wish to submit complaints can call 33531999- 33431999, or email aco@pp.gov.qa. Anonymous tips are welcome, the representative said:

“Callers aren’t required to leave a name or any personal details to protect their identity and guarantee that no penalty will be taken against them.”

When asked about what happens in the case of false complaints due to office feuds or personal grudges, the representative said that the prosecution looks through all the complaints.

But they only open official investigations if there is enough suspicion or evidence to back them, he said, adding:

”We need to be sure that the complaint is valid before starting an official investigation because this will harm government officials’ reputations and status.”

Thoughts?

47 COMMENTS

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Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago

Good initiative, but the devil is in the details it seems to me.

Agota Federico
Agota Federico
6 years ago

Really???

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

They declare a war on Wasta?? I don’t believe it.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Yeah right, go up against and Al Thani and see what happens. Even Qataris who do that end up losing their jobs, their career killed and worse.

Who wants to be the first expat martyr to wasta?

Abdulrahman Al-Thani
Abdulrahman Al-Thani
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You wanna go brah?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

On a Friday night in Edgeware road no problem, In Qatar on on Monday afternoon against the Qatar justice system, No thanks.

Abdulrahman Al-Thani
Abdulrahman Al-Thani
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Edgware road, London? This friday? Come at me. In front of starbucks though. Early evening, need to get pre-drinks before 3azeemas.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

You’re on, however you are not allowed to whip out your diplomatic passport when you lose….

Abdulrahman Al-Thani
Abdulrahman Al-Thani
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I won’t but I will whip it out mid fight and slap you with it

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Quality!

asd
asd
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Edgeware road? .. take care.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Edgeware Road or Edgware Road? Or am I confused (or a pedant)?

KK
KK
6 years ago

haha, if I have to do this in my company I will have to report the (local) management team. Wasta forever.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

I think they are inviting all those people who leak emails and photocopies of documents to journalists from time to time to do it instead to them. It is a good idea but let’s hope it works and we hear people jailed for corruption.

iRobot
iRobot
6 years ago

Resident makes complaint ➡ resident called to courts to testify (identity revealed) ➡official uses wasta to turn the table ➡resident jailed / deported for “harming reputation”

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

The reason that ‘reported corruption’ in this country is low, is that what people from one country see as ‘corruption’, people from other countries, such as Qatar, see as influence. It’s perfectly justifiable to them that rules should be bent or ignored altogether depending on who is demanding it. The notion that one rule applies to all people equally is absent in this country.

R.D.H
R.D.H
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

‘Everybody is equal but some are more equal than others’

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  R.D.H

‘Yani, in Qatar anything is possible’. Best quote ever before a discussion of bri…I mean steps to be taken to make a problem go away.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Good point Michael. Cultural differences will come into play. Generally it’s accepted that corruption is an undocumented financial transaction to gain an ‘unfair’ advantage. However corruption can take many forms, not simply monetary. For instance, a family may be granted permission to operate within a sector or industry, a son or daughter may be offered a high-ranking job, a member of staff may be given a parking space or access to the executive biscuit barrel. A westerner may view these acts as bordering on corruption (perhaps not the biscuit barrel), but here it’s a way of life, interwoven into the culture for tens if not hundreds of years. My point is that the concept of ‘fairness’ can differ widely between homogenous peoples and I suppose individuals too. One man’s ‘gift’ is another man’s ‘bung’.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Corruption is a notoriously difficult thing to measure, because it is either willfully hidden, or willfully ignored.

This campaign is a good start in raising awareness of it as an issue, but it’s going to be tough to explain how it’s corrupt when an Asian guy tries to pay the official at the traffic department to wipe his fines, but acceptable when someone else asks his cousin to do it for him because ‘don’t you know who I am’

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

“The hand of justice will catch you.” …. if you ever actually show up to court

Heisenberg
Heisenberg
6 years ago

No thank you.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
Stay wise.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

Am I correct in thinking that the corruption at issue here is only where hard cash changes hands?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

“Doha news headline induces frenzy of fabricated comments”

Jeff Hollingsworth
Jeff Hollingsworth
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

I what respect, please explain ?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

in regards to the comments posing as facts as to what will or will not happen to those reporting or being reported

Jeff Hollingsworth
Jeff Hollingsworth
6 years ago

Lets see if this works, watch this space…………………

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

So does this also include the mysterious speeding violations where there is no proof other than a guy sitting behind a desk that says just one word “pay”? Its amazing to get notified of a speeding violation in Al Rayyan when your car is at the airport car park and you are out of the country…..I mean I get wasta’d a couple times a year. Its the Qatar tax for living here I guess. Or does that not count as corruption?

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago

I am a guest here in Qatar. It’s not my job to report on any corrupt resident or govt office. Period.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat77

If you are on a tourist visa you are a guest, if you are on a resident visa you are a member of Qatar’s society, and it is the best interest of that society that you be responsible and report such crimes. If you would report a pickpocket, why not the corrupt?

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

A futile attempt to lower Qatars ranking in the corruption league. Given the state of the justice system the last thing I’d want to do is to expose myself to it.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Your injustice has been served….thank you, The Supreme Council of Wasta

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
6 years ago

Reporting corrupt high ranking government officials to other corrupt high ranking government officials isn’t going to work. I believe that this is a sincere campaign, but we all know what happens when influential Qatari males enter the court room.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Nuremburg

in fact a shark would never bite another shark!

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

“Why risk angering a coequally-sized shark when you can satisfy the system by feasting on nearby schools of tuna?” said the presiding judge.

Aspiring resident
Aspiring resident
6 years ago

Corruption is one big issue, but the lack of awareness about the system in place for anything involving government offices is a bigger issue that the country has to tackle. You go to a government office to register a company or to apply for a visa, you get different responses from different people sitting in the same counter at the same office. I personally had instances where one officer rejected my papers citing lack of some document (apparently bz chatting in her iphone) and I used the same application after 15 minutes, went to a different person in the same office and he accepted it. The worst part is no one I checked with knew who was right and who was wrong. At times, the officers seems so arrogant that they decline to even explain the reason why something is rejected and sometimes they ask me to come the next day just because he don’t want to accept it today(It happened to me twice from one baladiya).

One solution to avoid this is to provide all residents with a right to get written documents from the government officials (ofcourse after clearly defining the system). If someone rejects an application,the applicant will have the right to get a written explanation as to why this happened and if found incorrect, the applicant will have the right to register a complaint. This will make the officials more responsible and will not give any room for officers to create unwanted roadblocks and request for bribe.Could be considered one step against corruption.

dj25q
dj25q
6 years ago

” come tomorrow ” is the norm. Maybe another way of expressing hospitality as they like to see you more often!

Barry
Barry
6 years ago

I’ll keeping looking the water in the glass. We all know that fighting corruption needs experience and much more that but you gotta love the step. A really inspiring step forward. many steps needed? sure but it’s a good beginning.

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
6 years ago

There’s not much of a difference between wealthy bankers in the U.S. and wealthy Qatari in Doha when it comes to the courtroom.

justlook
justlook
6 years ago

Rules are broken and bent by the rich and powerful in every country. The difference is, in the west, this happens on a scale that is much more dark and sinister. Citizens *think* that they live in country ruled by law and fairness…by the time they find out, it is too late. “Inconvenient” laws are always broken by the rich and powerful… by using other laws… thus the illusion persists. The NSA hacks and steals people’s privacy, then they declare it legal. Drones kill, people are tortured.. all somehow legal. The rich influence political parties and lawmakers… their banks and companies prosper.

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

WHAT A FCUKn JOKE…..CORRUPTION is at the VERY TOP ….and goes all the way down….and has been like since the day I was BORN there 50 years ago…its why me and my entire family FLED the country.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Yousef

Deleted for language.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

“When asked about what happens in the case of false complaints due to
office feuds or personal grudges, the representative said that the
prosecution looks through all the complaints.”….then it can takes up to 3 years and half to prove through 2 audits (and one from the government!) that you did not embezzle money, but meanwhile you could not leave the country and guess that the accusing lawyer made a lot of money for himself…..how can you trust something like this? It really makes me laugh!

KK
KK
6 years ago

I would like to point a similar issue what my frds are facing with obtaining driving license, most of them and they have no idea why! but even i hear some people get their license by paying money! I hope the govt install camera and similar equipment in the vehicle that are used for the test,so that they can give an explanation to the learners . The system should be more transparent and clear . here the officer tells a NO OR YES ,thats it, there is no explanation .We never know whats the issue and have to settle with whatever,

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  KK

That’s typical for a monarchy. In a democracy the parliament CONTROLS the government. So, in 200 years things may change here, insha’allah.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago

Hmm…
Not sure i like the tone of this article – it could be very counter productive for me. Who do i need to talk to to take it down??

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

I am sure all of my comments are deleted as the TRUTH hurts and this like ALL other Gulf counties cannot handle the PAIN and SUFFERING they cause the poor men they import for HELP.

ALLAH will get his REVENGE on them too.!!

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