I scanned the GDN this morning (as I do most mornings) and the headline Bribes 17 are Jailed caught my eye. The article was talking about corrupt officials being arrested, and given 10 year jail sentences. I think this is great news. It seems that the “moral corruption” battle in the Manama hotels is slowly being won. Or not? I don’t really know, but that’s not my point. My point is the jail sentences. Here’s the GDN article:
FINES worth BD68,546 and prison sentences totalling 117 years were handed out yesterday at the end of a high-profile corruption trial.
Six tourism inspectors were among 17 people jailed for their part in a major hotel bribes scandal.
The inspectors were handed 10-year jail sentences each and fines totalling BD16,596 for pocketing backhanders.
Ten hotel investors were also fined a combined total of BD49,550 by the High Criminal Court, which jailed six of them for seven years and the remaining four for three years.
A Moroccan woman, who accused the inspectors of blackmailing her into handing over hundreds of dinars every week to keep her club open, was also jailed for three years and fined BD2,400.
She and three of the investors will be deported upon completion of their sentences.
The 17 defendants, two of whom are understood to have fled the country, were convicted in connection with tourism corruption between 2004 and 2008.
The six Tourism Directorate inspectors were convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for turning a blind eye to hotel violations, while the others were convicted of bribery.
The GDN reported in January that the defendants had been released on bail while their trial continued, with defence lawyers arguing that several had health problems and could not adapt to prison life.
All 17 were rounded up after one of the investors told a Bahraini tourism official that several inspectors were demanding bribes from hotels, threatening to close their outlets down if they didn’t pay up.
The Moroccan woman, who rented a 24-hour coffee shop and disco at a hotel, told investigators she was blackmailed into handing over BD1,500 to BD2,000 a month to one of the defendants.
If you recall, I wrote a two blog posts on the jail sentences handed out to child rapists (see Five Years Only For Raping a Child!, and Only 15 Years Jail For Incest Rapist!). In the first article, two men who raped a 13 year old girl only got 3 and 5 year sentences. In the second story, an uncle molested his two nieces and got only 15 years jail.
But in a bribery case, the corrupt officials get 10 years. So being corrupt and receiving bribes is a worse crime than child rape? For shame.
Talk to you soon.