Bahrain officials and analysts praised a recently published audit of government agencies, saying the report enhances transparency and supports the fight against corruption.
The 670-page report, presented to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in late December 2010, identified violations by ministries, governmental agencies, and companies owned by the Bahraini government.
One of the most serious violations on record was committed by the Radio and Television Corporation. The corporation hired non-Bahrainis for newly created positions and signed them to private contracts for extended terms at salaries ranging between 5,500 Bahraini dinars ($14,500) to 9,000 dinars ($24,000) without co-ordinating with the Bureau of Civil Service.
In addition to this violation, 17 government ministries or agencies out of a total of 53 committed violations, an increase from 12 in 2008.
Hassan Al-Jalahma, chairman of the National Audit Court, said the court monitored the governmental agencies and ministries in accordance with Bahrain law and the international auditing standards issued by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions. He said the report "includes the observations and the recommendations related to financial and administrative violations that appear through its monitoring activities."
Akbar Jaajafari, an economics expert, expressed "astonishment at the number of violations committed by ministries and government agencies in 2009" and demanded "all the officials who are involved in the violations be held accountable. The spirit of patriotic responsibility must be instilled in the minds of decision makers in those government agencies".
He said an extreme waste of funds calls for "severe punishments for those who committed violations without any exception".
Jaafari said the report revealed a high level of waste in overall government spending in all ministries. He pointed out that the government can provide all the needs of the Kingdom at less than 40% of the allocated budget.
Hassan Bukhammas, a businessman and former member of the parliament, praised the report of the Audit Court as it "reflects a high level of professionalism in monitoring public funds and complete transparency in recording violations, both of which enhance government efforts to put the general budget on track in accordance with the plans."
Bukhammas expects various political parties and parliamentary blocs in the House of Representatives to discuss the cases mentioned in the report openly.
He called on political organisations and civil societies to conduct this discussion in a civil dialogue and for the executive and legislative bodies to cooperate. The report by a governmental agency that reports directly to the king confirms that the executive branch is leading the effort to correct violations made by all state corporations.
He also called on parliamentary blocs to take an interest in citizen concerns while performing their role as monitors of government spending.