KUWAIT: Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah has referred alleged violations and corruption in the appointment of Indian nurses in the ministry to the public prosecution for legal investigations, a lawmaker said yesterday. MP Rakan Al-Nasef said on Twitter that he had sent a question to the health minister about the suspected violations involving the appointment and the minister told him that the case has been referred to the public prosecution.
Nasef said the case was raised during the grilling of a former health minister. The lawmaker claimed during the grilling that hundreds of nurses were appointed in the ministry after paying large amounts of bribes to senior ministry officials and middlemen. A court trying ministers began last week procedures for the possible trial of former health minister Ali Al-Obaidi and several former top officials over the alleged violations. It was not immediately known if the Indian nurses’ case is among the cases the former officials are being investigated for.
In August this year, Kuwait Times highlighted the plight of 80 Indian nurses promised jobs in Kuwait who have been stuck here for more than two years due to paperwork and red tape. The group of nurses, all with nursing qualifications from India and recruited by health ministry officials, are living in government housing, but are unable to work because their certifications and licensing have been held up. The nurses alleged that the problem stems from corruption in the recruitment process, according to a Kuwait Times source. The source claimed that the jobs of these 80 nurses were taken by another batch of nurses recruited through Dubai.
In April 2015, the Indian government banned the recruitment of nurses through private agencies in a bid to stop massive fee requirements and corruption. Working with the Kuwait government, it established six approved agencies that could recruit nurses for Kuwait. But at the same time, some private agencies rerouted recruitment through Dubai. That recruitment process however was not recognized by the Indian and Kuwait governments, but those nurses still bagged jobs in Kuwait.