Bahrain to investigate alleged waste of $1.1 bln of public money: Paper

Reuters , Sunday 8 Mar 2015

Bahraini legislators plan to investigate alleged squandering of 400 million dinars ($1.06 billion) of public funds by government departments and state-linked companies, a Manama newspaper reported on Sunday.

The National Audit Court (NAC) produced the figure in its 2013/14 report, the Gulf Daily News said and quoted parliamentary economic affairs committee member Mohammed al-Ahmed as saying that ministers would be quizzed and committees set up to investigate possible tender violations.

The $1 billion-plus would represent a significant proportion of the kingdom's gross domestic product -- pegged at $34 billion by the International Monetary Fund last year -- at a time when the oil-producing Gulf Arab state's finances are under increased pressure because of a fall in crude prices.

The National Audit Office told Reuters that the report was not public and had been distributed to select people only. It declined to provide more information.

The report by the NAC, set up in 2011 to fight corruption and increase transparency in government, alleges that money was wasted at state-linked companies including Bahrain Petroleum Co (Bapco) and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), the Gulf Daily News reported.

Alba declined to comment and Bapco did not respond immediately to Reuters' calls and an email seeking comment.

The newspaper did not give details of what violations might have occurred but quoted Ahmed as saying that the government had not addressed recurring violations and that government departments were circumventing laws on tenders.

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