Lengthy bureaucratic delays hamper anti-corruption drive
An official at the National Anti-corruption Commission or “Nazaha” said here this week that the lengthy government procedures at some agencies could open the doors for corruption.
Speaking at a lecture organized by the commission, Metlaa Al-Buqami, a specialist on education and public awareness, said the Nazaha is not only mandated to reduce government procedures but also streamline them as part of administrative reforms. This would enable the people to monitor the pace of progress in matters of public interest by making bureaucratic functioning transparent.
Al-Buqami stressed the need for a mechanism to ensure the implementation of procedures within a specific time frame. This was possible through careful selection of qualified officials in the executive departments dealing with the public, he said.
“Officers in these departments should deal with matters concerning citizens on time and monitor employees’ performance so as not to create obstacles at any stage of the operations,” Al-Buqami stated.
He pointed out that NAC has asked for the speedy disposal of cases of corruption and compensation for those whose rights have been adversely affected as a result of corruption. He referred to a court verdict on the unification of committees with powers to act independently in discharging their duties. This was the only way to root out corruption in a fair and just manner, he said.
According to him, Nazaha is committed to following up the execution of orders and instructions related to public affairs and interests of the citizens to ensure commitment. It investigates aspects of financial and administrative corruption in public works and operation and maintenance contracts. Nazaha will also monitor other contracts relating to public affairs and interests covered by the terms of reference of the commission. It will take the necessary legal action against any contract found to be involved in corruption or in violation of the provisions of the rules and regulations in force.
He said NAC has put in place controls on financial disclosure for some categories of workers in the country and submitted it to King Abdullah. He noted that they are keen to encourage the efforts of the public and private sectors to adopt plans and programs that will protect the integrity of the officials as part of the anti-corruption drive.
Al-Buqami said that the body receives reports and statistics of its coverage from these areas by the terms of reference of the Nazaha to prepare analytical data in the matter and take prompt action on them.
He said the authority is working on collecting information, data and statistics related to corruption and working to provide direct channels of communication with the public to receive their reports relating to corruption. “We validate and take necessary action on the matter. The regulations define the mechanism of this regulation and controls necessary to do so,” he added.
He noted that the concerned government agencies provide protection to anti-corruption bodies to enable them to perform their duties effectively, and are working on the periodic review of regulations related to the fight against corruption.
The commission also stressed non-discrimination in dealing with government officials, regardless of their career and social positions, and to operate on the principle of accountability for each official in accordance with regulations.
It also considers the lack of clarity of the instructions for fees, dues, fines as corruption, and is keen to find ways to bridge the preventive gaps that lead to a corruption including repayments by banks based on the guidelines.