In the past few years the Financial Audit Bureau has done a commendable job in highlighting shortcomings of Government institutions through its comprehensive annual reports, presented to the leadership and announced to the public.
While this is a step in the right direction for Bahrain’s reform efforts, there is a need for action and for the public to have confidence that there are real consequences for management shortcomings and corruption.
The leadership promised that the report would be dealt with seriously. As he officially received the report on 15 November, the Crown Prince stressed the need to “immediately” investigate all findings through a ministerial panel, and demanded that all cases of a possible criminal nature should be referred to the Public Prosecutor for legal action to be taken.
In previous years the findings of the report were acknowledged but the public perceived that not enough had been done to address the issues raised; a familiar media criticism being that the same shortcomings arose year after year. This led to a lack of faith in addressing corruption and mismanagement by Government institutions.
Members of Parliament play a vital role in assuring the public that such issues will be addressed by holding the Government accountable for the findings of the report. MPs have to reassert themselves as worthy representatives of the public by ensuring that the findings of the report will be taken seriously.
This is an opportunity for MPs to prove to constituents that they are not elected to discuss pointless issues, but rather they can hold the Government to account and force action to be taken over corruption.
Serious measures are required to reassure the public that these reports are not simply a way for the Government to show that it is capable of finding flaws in its own system; but rather to demonstrate that the authorities are willing to address such issues for the sake of a healthier society.
The Government of Bahrain can lead by example in fixing its flaws and guiding the country towards higher levels of professionalism, away from corruption and mismanagement. It can show its seriousness in fighting unacceptable practices and reassuring Bahrainis that the country is moving in the right direction.
Analysis of the Financial Audit Bureau report – Part 1
Jaafari Religious Endowments Administration
National Institution for Human Rights
Supreme Judicial Council
Culture and Antiquities Authority
Information Affairs Ministry
Foreign Affairs Ministry
Analysis of the Financial Audit Bureau report – Part 2
Public Authority for Social Security
Ministry of Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning
Oversight of municipality investment properties
Oversight of municipal revenues
Management of agriculture and water resources
Management of marine resources
Marine culture management
Rubbish disposal – Supreme Council for the Environment
Rubbish disposal – Ministry of Works and Municipalities
Electricity and Water Board
Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
Analysis of the Financial Audit Bureau report – Part 3
Government projects – Ministry of Finance
Management of National Debt