Author: Dr. Angelika Hellweger 18 July 2023
Angelika Hellweger of Rahman Ravelli considers Qatar’s latest efforts to tackle corruption.
Qatar has announced that it has charged 16 people with corruption.
The charges relate to bribery and abuse of office, with four of those charged from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), which is Qatar’s biggest healthcare provider. The HMC employees are also accused of laundering money and breaching the freedom and integrity of tenders related to the state.
HMC employs more than 25,000 and runs 12 hospitals in Qatar, as well as the National Ambulance Service, and provides home and residential care services.
In statement, Qatari prosecutors said: “The investigations resulted in the employees exploiting their position at HMC, favouring certain companies owned by the other defendants and facilitating their obtaining contracts to supply medical materials and supplies to HMC in return for sums of money.
“After the evidence was sufficient, the attorney general ordered the transfer of the accused to the competent criminal court.”
Prosecutors did not, however, provide any details of the 12 other individuals that were charged.
Qatar has put an increased emphasis on tackling corruption since its Emir, Sheikh Tamim, passed the Public Prosecution Law in May, after repealing the previous version of the law that had been passed 21 years ago.
Four months ago, the Public Prosecutor’s office said it would try former finance minister Ali Al Emadi, who was arrested in May 2021 and dismissed from his position of chairman of the board at Qatar National Bank. Mr Al Emadi and an unidentified number of other individuals are charged with bribery, abuse of position and power, damage to public funds and money laundering.
The latest case is notable for the official publicity that has been given to it. In most of the Gulf countries, cases of corruption and wrongdoing involving public officials are usually dealt with quietly and with limited media reporting.
Qatar is judged by international anti-corruption indexes to be among the highest performing countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Qatari government has streamlined its regulations regarding business practices and engaged in reforms from above that have liberalised the Qatari economy and increased its strength and viability.
In recent years, the government of Qatar has introduced legislation to strengthen its efforts to fight corruption. For instance, Qatar has taken steps to improve its public procurement practices and its money-laundering framework and has promised to reform the sponsorship system.
Angelika is a specialist in international, high-level economic crime investigations and large-scale commercial disputes. She has widely-recognised expertise in representing corporates and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and United States.