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Fraud convicts have to return money.

PEOPLE convicted of embezzlement will not only face jail time but will also be forced to return the money under proposed amendments to the Penal Code.

The proposal was discussed and unanimously approved at the Shura Council's weekly session yesterday.

It was referred to the government to draft it into a bill within six months, but Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain stressed that it would be completed sooner due to its importance.

"We have actual masterminds in numerous cases that we have dossiers of detailing how embezzlement was being conducted in Bahrain," said Mr Al Buainain.

"The embezzlers happily give themselves up because they know the (1976 Penal Code) has a maximum sentence of 10 years which is doubled if the perpetrator is a civil servant or caretaker.

"Afterwards they live lavish lives here in Bahrain or somewhere else, as they would secure or hide the money without us being able to track it, while those whose money has been stolen live in agony and pain.

"At the moment justice is not being served, jail term is just a period of waiting for embezzlers to get out and live as kings."

He added that a similar article should also be added to the Private Sector Embezzlement Law.

The proposal was spearheaded by Shura Council member Ahmed Bahzad, foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Khalid Al Mosallam, legislative and legal affairs committee vice-chairman Khamis Al Rumaihi, and human rights committee vice-chairman Darwish Al Mannai.

Shura Council member Dr Fatema Al Kooheji also urged her colleagues to continue working on the embezzlement issue - adding that punishments need to be tougher.

"The current embezzlement punishments don't see a difference as those stealing BD100 and others pocketing millions get similar punishments due to the nature of the crime - there needs to be a differentiation between (the level of embezzlement)," she added.

[c] Copyright 2017

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2017
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