KUWAIT CITY, Sept 11, (Agencies): Kuwait has vowed to pursue legal action against its nationals designated as “terrorist financiers” as Arab states seek to boost co-ordination against the threat from Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. Finance Minister Anas Al- Saleh said Kuwait would be joining ranks with the Arab League in a coalition against “all terrorism”, as the state pursues “legal action” against Kuwaitis accused of supporting terrorist groups in Syria. “We are complying with antiterrorist commitments,” he told reporters at a conference in Kuwait on Tuesday. Kuwait’s Parliament has endorsed an updated financial crimes law that introduces new powers and regulations to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. A law in 2013 criminalised terror financing, including prison sentences of up to 15 years and financial penalties.
The law also provides the authorities with greater powers to freeze assets and funds, as well as mandating more due diligence on clients and restricting the transportation of cash through Kuwait. “When the UN announced these last individuals, the Cabinet recognised that and directed institutions to implement anti-terror laws against them,” he said. “There have been actions taken against them,” he added, declining to specify further. Kuwait is keen on combating terrorism through the enactment of laws aimed at rectifying legal loopholes commonly found in counter-terrorism procedures, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily quoting sources close to the Parliament. Sources explained this step is in line with the global commitment to fight against terrorism based on the outcome of meetings between regional and foreign powers on ways to counter terrorism.
Sources also quoted the government side as saying that the ministerial legal committee is reviewing the current laws to ensure they are within the framework of the counter-terrorism objectives. Sources revealed this is in addition to the issuance of new laws which will be referred to the concerned authority for review to ascertain they are in line with the Constitution.
Sources added the proposed laws include monitoring and regulating collection of donations and issuance of permits for such activities, as well as the establishment of a monitoring authority and follow-up committees to check funds collected through donation campaigns, sources and beneficiaries. Sources went on to say the new laws will include stipulations regarding groups, companies and blocs — in and outside the country — which are suspected of having connections with terrorist organizations like the IS and several others. Sometimes they came pretending to buy things.
Sometimes they texted, sometimes they called, but the message was always the same: “Give us money.” Months before they took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, Islamic State militants were already busy collecting money to finance their campaign of setting up a 7th century-style caliphate. The owner of a Mosul grocery store recounted how, when he hesitated to pay, militants exploded a bomb outside his shop as a warning. “If a person still refused, they kidnapped him and asked his family to pay ransom,” he said.
The shopkeeper, who declined to be identified out of concern for his safety, said he had paid the militants $100 a month six or seven times this year. In return, he was given a receipt that says: “Received from Mr ...., the amount of ...., as support to the Mujahideen.” The shop keeper’s tale illustrates how Islamic State has long been systematically collecting funds for a land grab that already includes a stretch of northern Iraq and Syria. Another Mosul worker corroborated the account of IS tactics. Kuwait has been one of the biggest humanitarian donors to Syrian refugees through the United Nations.
It has also struggled to control unofficial fund-raising for opposition groups in Syria by private individuals. Ahmed Al-Sanee, head of charities in Kuwait’s Social Affairs ministry, said recently there was “strict monitoring” of unlicensed donation collecting. Anas Al- Saleh said on Tuesday Kuwait was “committed to international efforts in fighting this terror”. “Whomever has been identified by the United Nations as a terrorist, we will be implementing our law on them,” he said. Washington has moved to cut off sources of private donations. Last month it imposed sanctions on three men it said funnelled money from Kuwait to Islamic militant groups in Iraq and Syria. Kuwait briefly detained two of the men, both of whom are prominent clerics.