No one, not even the ministers, are above the law in Qatar, says the Attorney-General, citing the example of four ministers who were grilled along with other top officials in a corruption case some four years ago and asked to quit.
Some of them were from the ruling family. This amply demonstrates that there is political will in the country to fight corruption at the highest level.
In other Arab countries, the political will to combat corruption is missing, said the Attorney-General, Dr Ali bin Futais Al Marri, in a programme titled ‘Without Boundaries’ aired by Al Jazeera Channel recently.
Yesterday, in remarks at a preparatory meeting for a global forum on fighting corruption and protecting integrity due to be held here tomorrow, he said Qatar has signed agreements with a number of countries for cooperation in combating corruption.
He said the laws in Qatar lay tremendous emphasis on fighting corruption and that is one of the reasons why the Attorney-General’s office and the judiciary enjoy complete freedom in terms of functioning and financial powers.
They are independent entities. “They do not take diktat from any other authority and are not dependent on any external agency for their finances,” he said. “This is not the case with other Arab countries where the Attorney-General’s office is part of justice ministry.”
The Emir has never interfered with the judiciary. The Constitution gives him the authority to grant pardon to a convict only after the court has issued its sentence.
So during a trial he has never ever tried to interfere, said Al Marri, adding that it was at the Emir’s directives that his office as well as the judiciary have been separated from the executive.
Such is the level of fair play and equality in Qatar that once a senior police official was accused of slapping an Asian. The allegations were investigated and after the charges were proved, trial was conducted and the policeman was sentenced to six months in jail and stripped off his job.
In the judiciary there is an inspection department. It makes sure that all cases of corruption or irregularity are brought to light and investigated.
“Our system is based on equality and justice. The Ministers are not immune and if they commit a crime they are brought to book,” said Al Marri. No offender should go unpunished.
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