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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Court convicts two Qatar Foundation employees of soliciting bribe

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For illustrative purposes only.
For illustrative purposes only.

A judge has sentenced two senior Qatar Foundation (QF) employees to five years in jail and ordered them to jointly pay a QR3 million (US$823,916) fine for requesting a payoff from an insurance company in exchange for renewing its contract with the organization.

This morning’s verdict also orders that Narayan Manugh, an Indian expat who worked as the director of payments and revenue at QF’s financial affairs department, and Faisal Al-Hajiri, a Qatari who served as director of the financial affairs department, be terminated from their positions.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

After serving his sentence, Manugh is to be deported from Qatar, the judge said in a brief statement announcing the verdict.

The fine is equivalent to the amount of money Manugh was accused of requesting from the regional manager of a French firm, AXA, in the spring of 2014.

Neither AXA or QF itself were accused of any wrongdoing or charged with any offence.

AXA had provided health and life insurance to QF since 2012. As the company’s contract was about to come up for renewal, Manugh asked AXA’s regional manager for a “gift” to ensure the continuation of their business relationship, court sources previously said.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The insurance company manager, a Lebanese expat, had testified in court that he told Manugh that his firm does not pay bribes. Manugh told him to think about it more, but the manager instead contacted his CEO, who called a QF executive who in turn contacted the police.

Members of Qatar’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) interviewed the insurance company manager and instructed him to continue meeting with his QF client as they planned a sting operation. The manager testified that he was told to insist that Al-Hajiri be present for the handoff.

After a series of meetings, the three men met in the lobby of a high-end hotel at around 10pm on July 14, 2014, under the watch of several undercover police officers. They proceeded to the hotel’s parking lot, where the insurance company manager retrieved a bag containing the money and handed it to Al-Hajiri. At that point, police intervened and made their arrests.

Other cases

This is at least the fourth bribery case to be heard in a Qatar court this month.

Katara
Katara

In early June, an Arab expat working as an internal design engineer at Katara Cultural Village was sentenced to three years in jail and fined QR10,000 ($2,747) for demanding and accepting a bribe of QR20,000 ($5,493) from a carpentry firm in exchange for awarding it some work, The Peninsula reported.

Separately, the newspaper also reported that two foreign businessman stand accused of offering a bank credit officer £320,000 (QR1.83 million) in exchange for a guarantee, which can be used in lieu of a deposit to purchase goods from a supplier.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Times reported a new trial has been ordered for engineers accused of bribery related to the awarding of contracts to construct a new expressway. Court sources say the original charges at the heart of this month’s hearing date back to 2006-07.

Despite the concentration of recent cases, Qatar has a reputation for having relatively low levels of overall corruption, according to an international survey.

The country ranked 26th in 2014, compared to 28th the previous year, in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index. That means Qatar’s government continues to be among the most trustworthy in the Middle East, according to the report, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in 175 countries/territories around the world.

Earlier this year, Qatar’s public prosecution’s office launched an advertising campaign urging residents to act as whistleblowers in an effort to encourage Qatar residents to report financial corruption in government organizations, including bribes and embezzlement of public funds.

Thoughts?

17 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Congratulatios on the police in pursuing these cases and getting convictions. Corruption can ruin countries, you just have to look at India, Nigeria and Pakistan how it can disrupt and ruin economies and hurt people’s lives.

Hopefully some of these high profile cases will make the people that work in Qatar, local and expat work in a more honest way and deter those who want a ‘gift’ to think twice about the consequences.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Agreed

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Well done to the police on this one.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

I should also add a well done to the management who took the necessary action.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Very true, in some countries they wouldn’t have reported it and instead asked what is their cut.

Mohammed Arsalan
Mohammed Arsalan
6 years ago

Well done Qatar. Corruption is such a disease for which there is no cure. It spreads, stagnates and destroys a society. Its very sad to see such high level individuals who are paid well by such a good employer like QF resort to such low level. After all human greed does not has any limits.

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
6 years ago

I work at QF, yet none of our internal news outlets have reported on this…no need to wonder why. DN, is it possible to adhere to a fixed policy regarding people’s nationality? I realise it’s difficult given the news sources but find it strange that ‘Asian or Arab national’ is used sometimes and peoples’ actual nationality at other times. Or in the same article like this one!

AM
AM
6 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

And names of the individuals. Wonder why ni uniformity in this regard.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

So they got caught accepting a bribe for this one contract – bet they did it before….so is QF going to review all its previous contract awards?

What about contracts awarded based on ‘wasta’….nahhhh that ain’t a crime :-/

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Blue

Wasta isn’t a crime anywhere unless you are deliberatley ignoring your own procedures to award contracts to friends or relatives. In business everywhere, influence and access to the right people is crucial.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

was referring to a conflict of interest which is generally forbidden anywhere…

TheGreatOne
TheGreatOne
6 years ago

You give someone a piece of rope, he thinks he is a cowboy!!! The court should have put them in the slammer for at least 10 years!!!

SemiGruntledExpat
SemiGruntledExpat
6 years ago

Great to see such assiduous police work from the CID. Perhaps they ought to focus their attentions on the Qatar 2022 win next? After all, as the article says, financial corruption in government organisations is not to be tolerated.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

You want Qatari CID to focus on the Qatar 2022 win?

SemiGruntledExpat
SemiGruntledExpat
6 years ago
Reply to  Blue

Well obviously that won’t happen. I was trying to highlight the hypocrisy of the Qatari government being so proactive in tackling corruption in one incidence, yet possibly sanctioning it on a massive scale in another incidence.

Lisa Clayton
Lisa Clayton
6 years ago

Isn’t this CFO of QF the same guy who was originally from Pakistan and got Qatari citizenship through a prominent Qatari before ascending the ranks quickly at QF under shady circumstances?

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Clayton

Uhh, I don’t know where you got your information from but this guys has no Pakistani origins whatsoever.

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