Kuwait Gives Jail Sentence to Former Defense Minister
Kuwait’s former Defense and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Jarrah al-Sabah has been sentenced to a seven years imprisonment by the top court for corruption. The case surrounded the embezzlement of $790 million from the military aid fund.
Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak Al Sabah, who was Kuwait’s Prime Minister from 2011-2019, had also been charged and ordered by the court to return the funds. He resigned from the position of prime minister in 2019 because of mismanagement of funds.
The case came to be known as the “army fund case”, and heighted government corruption in Gulf Arab states.
Kuwait Government Fell
Sheikh Jaber and Sheikh Khalid’s corruption put a dent on Kuwait’s governance. Other scandals, involving Kuwaiti lawmakers also came to light. Initially, Jaber and Khalid were cleared off all charges and this led to backlash from the public. Demonstrations were held outside the parliament, prompting the emir to take a stance, wherein he vowed to clamp down on graft – “no one, no matter his position, will evade punishment if convicted in public fund crimes.”
The duo already had numerous cases against them, including fraud. In November 2019, Jaber and Khalid were convicted on two charges of money laundering. The 2021 detention of the former prime minister was historic, a first for the country. MPs gave go ahead to a motion to suspend the questioning of Khalid until the end of 2022. This facilitated the cabinet’s work, leading to unprecedented legal action against the former prime minister and former defense minister.
Kuwait Combat Jet Case
The Kuwait government also has its hands full with the Eurofighter jet deal worth $8.7 billion. In 2022, it referred two senior military officers for prosecution related to the acquisition of Eurofighter Typhoon combat planes. Kuwait’s Anti-Corruption Authority confirmed that a major general and colonel in the army were involved.
The Kuwaiti government highlighted its determination to combat and eliminate corruption in all its forms and not be lenient with anyone who may be tempted to infringe on public funds. Corruption in the country’s military caused grave damage to public money.