AMAN Coalition held a workshop to discuss the baseline analytical study about the criminal offense of Wasta and Nepotism, which was conducted in accordance with the Palestinian Law. The study was prepared by Dr. Ahmad Braak and was discussed in the presence of experts, specialists as well as members of the Legislative Council. Dr. Braak presented his study about the crimes of Wastaand Nepotism, according to the Palestinian law, highlighting the following key study findings:
1. Enforcing the appropriate legal penalty on those committing the crimes of Wasta and Nepotism proves to be a very difficult matter in practice. This is primarily due to the legal ambiguities which hinder the application of the legal provisions contained in the anti-Corruption Law No. (1) For the year 2005. Namely: the ambiguity of the legal text, confusing between the crime of nepotism and the crime of bribery, in addition to the severe punishment imposed by the Palestinian legislature on those who commit this act.
2. Attempting to commit the crime of Wasta and Nepotism is punishable by law as a felony, because attempting to commit the crime is as serious as preconceiving it.
3. The Palestinian legislator stipulated that the crime of Wasta and Nepotism must hold a specific criminal intent, contrary to comparative legislations that suffice with a general criminal intent.
4. The inapplicability of the legal provisions of relevance to penalize the offense of Wasta and Nepotism, is a legal loophole that cannot be remedied by the issuance of an executive regulation. Rather, the pertinent provisions within the Palestinian anti-Corruption Law shall be amended.
Dr. Azmi Al Shuaibi, AMAN’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner, had initiated the workshop by saying that: “According to data collected through successive polls conducted by the AMAN Coalition, the crimes of Wasta and Nepotism account for the highest corruption rate among all other forms of corruption currently rampant in the Palestinian society. Nevertheless, despite the above, and the fact that the 2010 Anti-Corruption Law has criminalized the Wasta and Nepotism offense and sentenced its offenders to a 3-15 years imprisonment; however, as of date, the Palestinian judiciary system is yet to issue a ruling to penalize the perpetrators of this crime. This grave concern, as well as the incessant widespread of this phenomenon, is what prompted AMAN to conduct this study as part of its effort to unearth the obstacles which hinder the applicability of the pertinent sections of the Law. In view of the previous findings, and with the consensus of the workshop participants, this study has concluded the following:
1. Amend the text of the Anti-Corruption Law provisions that pertain to the crimes of Wasta and Nepotism, so as to remove any confusion or misconception involving this crime and the crime of bribery.
2. Reevaluate the penalty for Wasta and Nepotism offenses; instead, settinga penalty that is better suited to the nature of the crime, and removing this crime from the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division.
3. Stipulate a clear punishment for attempting the crimes ofWasta and Nepotism, declaring it a misdemeanor if need be, so as to minimize the prevalence of this crime and to fight against it.
4. The legislator must refrain from attempting to define Wasta and Nepotism, in effect, leaving this task to the judiciary and jurisprudence system; as the definition of criminal offenses is not within the jurisdiction of the legislator.
5. Promote a social culture that opposes Wasta and Nepotism, both within society and especially among the ranks of the employed.
6. Introduce an e-business model to public services positions, so as to eliminate any opportunity for the crime of Wasta and Nepotisim to take place.