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UAE's zero tolerance of corruption pays dividends

Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi

By Staff

The UAE’s zero tolerance approach to crimes such as corruption and bribery has paid rich dividends with the country being ranked the No. 1 least corrupt Arab country in the annual Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International.

The 2013 Index ranks the UAE at No. 26 globally, out of total 177 countries surveyed, and ahead of a number of developed countries.

According to 999 Magazine’s latest edition, this year’s rankings confirm the UAE remains a shining guiding light and a model of anti-corruption in a region that, sadly, has a lot of catching up to do in terms of keeping the lid on corruption and bribery.

With the aim of spreading awareness among the public regarding such corruption, 999’s January edition opens the file of bribery crimes in the UAE and looks at the steps taken to fight the scourge. The magazine highlights the international agreements that the UAE has ratified as part of its deep belief in the significance of developing a legal international mechanism to criminalise the acts of corruption.

Ahmed Abdullah Al Hammadi, Chief of Public Funds Prosecution, told 999 that the number of bribery cases registered in all federal courts between 2012 and 2013 was just 47, which is a direct consequence of the high level of co-operation between public prosecution, courts and police in the UAE.

“I would like to urge the public to take the initiative if any public official asked them for bribe of any kind, by filing a complaint against him with the competent authorities, be they public prosecution or police. The role of public is indispensable in fighting all shapes of corruption, and I would like in this context to praise the conscious public who never accepts or forgives such devious acts,” Al Hammadi said.

Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999, said: “Government administration in the UAE has taken conscious steps generally efficient and transparent, and there are enough checks on private institutions as well.”

“Even as the UAE’s laws against corruption and bribery are extremely strong and clear, the presence of people from so many different countries, where bribery may be seen as a legitimate way of doing business, means that it becomes all the more necessary for the authorities to keep a keen eye out for any underhand corporate practices,” he added.

The massive improvement in the UAE’s perception as a largely corruption-free country didn’t come about overnight – 10 years ago, the UAE was ranked at No. 37 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2003, lagging its GCC peers Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, which were ranked above the Emirates.

However, thanks to the resolute efforts of the Ministry of Interior, as well as the financial and administrative monitoring bodies, in addition to the country’s judiciary, the country has consistently improved its ranking and scores over the years, and emerged as the least corrupt Arab country in CPI 2013.

There have been less than 50 cases of bribery registered in all federal courts between 2012 and 2013, thanks to efforts of the Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi Police General headquarters, and other police general headquarters in the country.

Details of the rules and regulations governing the penalties for bribery and corruption can be found in the January edition of 999 Magazine, a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the Ministry and Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety in the UAE.