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Anticorruption In Kuwait

1. What is Kuwait’s legal framework for dealing with bribery?

Bribery and corruption are addressed by several different and overlapping laws in Kuwait. Kuwait, in instance, established a stand-alone anti-corruption law (Law No. 2 of 2016) (the Anti-Corruption Law), which was modeled after the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Bribery in the public sector or involving public authority is governed by the Kuwait Criminal Code. Bribery in the private sector may, in some situations, be considered a corruption offense under the Anti-Corruption Law.

All article references in this overview, unless otherwise specified, refer to the Amendment.


2. What is the definition of a bribe?

A bribe is defined as any promise, gift, or benefit, whether material or intangible, intended to induce or reward a public official in the improper performance of a relevant function or activity, or assumed function or activity (whether or not the function or activity is legitimately assumed) under the Amendment (arts. 35 and 38).


3. What are the most serious violations of this legal framework?

Bribery is defined as the request, acceptance, offer, or making of any promise, gift (or other benefit) to a public official, whether directly or indirectly, in order to aid that public officer or person in abusing their power, whether actual or assumed, in order to obtain an unlawful benefit from a public department of authority (arts. 35 and 41).

In the function of a public official, requesting, consenting to receive, or accepting a bribe (art. 35).

Aiding or abetting the commission of a bribe with knowledge.

Taking part in a bribery deal as an intermediary (art. 39).

Accepting or procuring a bribe in order to get, or attempt to get, something of value from a government official (art. 37).

Bribery in the private sector is not considered bribery under the criminal bribery provisions (i.e. the Amendment), but it may be considered a corruption crime in some circumstances where it contains corruption banned under another law, such as a breach of competition law or tax evasion (Anti-Corruption Law, art. 22).


4. What is the legal framework’s jurisdictional scope?

Outside of Kuwait, the bribery offenses listed above do not apply.


5. Who can be held accountable for bribery? (Government officials, private citizens, legal entities, etc.)

Bribery violations can be tried against private people, public officials, legal entities, managers, directors, agents, intermediaries, and anybody who supports or abets a bribery offense.


6. Can a parent firm be held accountable for bribery committed by a subsidiary?

Yes, albeit the circumstances in which this could happen are fact-dependent. The parent business may be immediately accountable for the subsidiary’s actions if the subsidiary is established as a branch in Kuwait; the parent company acts as an intermediary in the bribery violation; or the parent company acted directly or indirectly in the conduct of the bribe.


7. Are bribes considered facilitation payments (small payments to expedite regular government action)?

Yes, indeed. Facilitation payments, regardless of quantity, are deemed bribery if they match the conditions.


8. Is there any restriction on political and charity contributions under the law?

There are no specific limitations on political or charitable contributions in Kuwait’s Criminal Code/Amendment.

However, charitable gifts may be subject to limits under fundraising and charity rules. In Kuwait, fundraising and the formation of charities are strictly regulated, in order to prevent terrorism financing and money laundering. Fundraising is only permitted in collaboration with locally recognized charity, and charities are strictly monitored and supervised.

Political contributions are not permitted in Kuwait because it is a constitutional monarchy.


9. Is corporate hospitality subject to any legal restrictions?

The Amendment includes no specific provisions for corporate hospitality, therefore any financial or other benefit provided in that context would be evaluated in light of the limitations outlined in this paragraph.

Other anti-bribery legislation in Kuwait impose various limits on business hospitality. Federal employees, for example, are barred from taking presents unless they are promotional presents that reflect the presenting party’s name and brand and do not affect the federal employee’s decision-making.


10. Do bribery offenses have any defenses?

A briber or middleman who self-reports a bribery offense before it is found is immune from the punishment, according to the Amendment (art. 39). However, it is unclear if the self-reporter would be immune from prosecution for bribery, corruption, or other related crimes under other laws.

Furthermore, the Amendment specifies that any individual who notifies the public authorities of the criminal plot and the persons involved before an investigation or a crime is committed would be relieved of guilt for the conspiracy charge (art. 40).


11. What are the main anti-bribery regulatory or enforcement bodies?

The Public Authority for Anti-Corruption, in addition to the police and public prosecutors, examines any financial irregularities identified in federal institutions.