Corporate criminal liability for Bribery in Kuwait: issues in disclosing commissions

Published date13 July 2021
Date13 July 2021
Subject MatterAccounting & finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
AuthorNoura Taha Aloumi
Corporate criminal liability for
Bribery in Kuwait: issues in
disclosing commissions
Noura Taha Aloumi
Faculty of Law, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Purpose This study aims to critically analyse corporate criminal liability for bribery in Kuwait, by
focusing on laws and regulationsas key problem-solving mechanisms. To that end, it identif‌ies and assesses
the existing anti-bribery laws in Kuwait,including a legal evaluation based on international standards. This
study raises several issues concerning the lack of regulations of private bribery, facilitating payments and
kickbacks in government contracts,and gifts and hospitalities in private sector, using UK Bribery Act 2010
(UK BA 2010) as a reference. This study showcases how these legal shortcomings are inconsistent with
international treaties, and undermine efforts to tackle corruption. Emphasis has been put on criminalising
private bribery, regulatingthe acceptance of hospitalities and gifts and abolishing the commission payment
regime in publiccontracts in Kuwait.
Design/methodology/approach Adopting a doctrinal focus, this paper examines case studies on
curbing corporatebribery using both primary and secondary sources.Given the increasingly transitional and
organised nature of business corruption,extravagant gifts and facilitating payments in public procurements
globally,a comparison is drawn with the UK BA 2010.
Findings Kuwaitslegal system does not criminalise bribery in privatesector. Its anti-bribery laws are not
at par with international standards.Therefore, the laws on disclosing commissions in public contractsmust
be abolished,and facilitating payments and hospitalitypayments in private sector must be regulated.
Originality/value This studyexplores corporate criminal liability for briberyin Kuwait by investigating
the weaknesses and legal shortcomings of the existing anti-bribery laws, and proposing reforms to counter
these usingUK BA 2010 as a guide.
Keywords Bribery, Corruption, Corporate criminal liability, Facilitating payment,
Kickback, Kuwait
Paper type Research paper
Introduction and historical background
Kuwaits legal system was inspired by the French civil system, and it adopted most of
Frances legal texts (Elliot, 2001).The lawsroots can be traced to the end of colonisation in
the 1960s, which prompted the governmentto establish a civil constitutional state upholding
the basic rule of the law by following Egyptian laws(Saleh, 1993). At that time, Egypt was
at the forefront in terms of modern laws and jurisdiction in the Arab region owing to the
work of the French-educated Egyptian jurist Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri (Hill, 1988). In this
historical context, Kuwait adopted the Egyptian laws that were in turn inf‌luenced by the
French laws. Hence, the state upheld the legality principle under Article 32 of the 1961
Constitution, which states: Crime and punishment will be regulated by Law. Criminal
punishment shall not be inf‌lictedon the basis of ex post facto laws.
Thus, the principle of legality was included in Criminal Code No. 16 of 1960 in Article
1, which also states: No crime and no penalty may be established except by virtue of the
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.29 No. 3, 2022
pp. 1102-1113
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-04-2021-0081
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