Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry to Crack Down on Related Party Transactions?

A week ago, AlQabas reported that the Kuwaiti MOCI had discovered "gross offenses" by local companies in related party transactions and as a result was going to implement some greatly enhanced requirements effective 2010.  Link to the article in Arabic here.

Two areas where offenses occurred were singled out for particular note:
  1. Board compensation (one suspects the problem is not with too little)
  2. Withdrawal of capital under the pretext of transactions with affiliates and subsidiaries.
The MOIC will reportedly tighten requirements as follows:
  1. Auditors will have to submit an original signed copy of the company's financials  to the MOIC to attest that the auditor has indeed audited and agrees with the numbers presented therein.  The auditor must also disclose the extent of  its reliance on documents attested to it by the company. 
  2. If after a review of the financials and other information it has on the company, the MOIC feels an auditor's work is deficient, it can transfer the case to the professional disciplinary board for a hearing.
  3. If it is determined that there are serious deficiencies, the case will be referred to the public prosecutor for criminal prosecution.
In conducting its review and investigations of company financials, the MOIC promises to ensure strict confidentially of a company's "business confidential information".

It is an old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats.

Equally when the tide goes out the conditions of the hulls of the ships in the harbor become evident.  The GCC is not a flood tide right now.  And, no, the Mishref Plant does definitely not count here.

This is probably as good as any time to comment on AlQabas, the source of this information.

Critical evaluation of sources is (pardon the duplication) critical in conducting careful inquiry.  All of us are biased - consciously or unconsciously.  Knowing where those biases are and what they are helps evaluate the account.  If the isnad is strong, the matn has a higher probability of being sound.

Within the standard Kuwaiti political framework of the "Two Powers",  AlQabas is definitely in the parliamentary camp.  Closer to Saadun than AlSabah.  The name of the newspaper itself ("The Firebrand") is a pretty good indication that it has a different  orientation than the more "establishment" AlWatan (the largest paper in the country).

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