Qatar’s finance minister has been arrested for questioning allegations of misuse of electricity and misuse of public funds as part of an unprecedented move by authorities in the power-rich Gulf region to increase transparency and curb corruption.
In a statement released by the prosecution agency, public prosecutors have launched an investigation into allegations of embezzlement by Ali Sharif al-Imadi.
Imadi, who took over the post eight years ago and is one of the top officials in the Gulf state, has not been charged. The allegations relate to the Commission on Bribery and Government Contracts, a person from Doha briefed on the investigation.
The investigation focused on Imadi’s cabinet behavior, rather than other positions of the former banker educated in the United States, he added. Emadi is a board member of the Qatar Investment Authority, the state’s influential sovereign asset fund that manages nearly 300 300 billion in assets and is chairman of the country’s largest lender, Qatar National Bank.
Run by the Al-Thani ruling family, Qatar is set to host one of the richest countries in the world and host the football World Cup next year. Sheikh Sheikhdom, at the U.S. Regional Military Headquarters, is a Gulf monarchy that supported the pro-democracy Islamist movement during the 2010/11 Arab uprisings and its neighbors.
The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has made the fight against corruption the main theme of his rule since his father left in 2013. “Development can achieve its goals only through good governance, rule of law, fight against corruption and injustice,” he said in a 2017 speech.
A former Doher-based Western observer said previous ministers had never been issued arrest warrants for corruption – the arrests being highly unusual. “They weren’t followed until after their expiration – and it was always kept secret.” On Thursday, Doha was buzzing with shocking news, especially as Imadi was “very strongly connected”, observers said, adding that budget cuts were not popular with him.
The arrest comes as the emir prepares the country for the long-delayed elections in October. The survey will be in favor of an advisory body that acts as a proxy parliament. As Qatar prepared to host the World Cup, it was keen to promote more good governance. The allegations hurt the country’s reputation Bribery And the torture of workers linked to its hosting of football tournaments
Qatar ranks 30th in Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, ahead of the Bahamas and Spain. The UAE is the only country in the Middle East that is seen as less corrupt.
The Saudi-led trade and travel embargo against Qatar in 2013 boosted the state’s transparency agenda, which was resolved in January. The government is determined to work more publicly in handling these high-profile cases, he said.