MENAFN - The Peninsula
Qatar- Community in shock over 'wedlock'
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Allegations made yesterday by a Qatari newspaper columnist in a write-up about a man, an expatriate, married to a man, also an expatriate, has the Qatar community in shock.
But what has triggered uproar is the accusation that the man, an employee of an important agency funded by the state, has been given housing allowance based on the "controversial wedding".
Qataris reacted with tremendous shock yesterday after Faisal Al Marzouki alleged that an expatriate male employee of the Qatar Museums Authority claiming to be "married" to another male had been given housing allowance.
The accusation went viral on local social networking sites, with people's reaction being one of shock and surprise and even anger in some cases.
In the column published in local daily Al Arab, Al Marzouki made sweeping accusations of abuse of power by some top officials of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), all of them expatriates.
The allegations claimed how some foreigners holding influential positions in the QMA and enjoying a free hand were bending internal rules to help their own people and derive financial benefits, with no or little monitoring from above.
The accusations created quite a hullabaloo in the Qatari community, with some even expressing disbelief that such a thing was happening in their midst.
"This one incident can be put on one side of the balance, while all the other allegations of financial skullduggery and misuse of power (in the QMA) can be put on the other," was how a commentator writing on a social networking site reacted.
"This is a result of giving so much importance to foreigners and allowing them so much of free hand," said another commentator.
Al Marzouki claimed that clauses in the said employee's job contract were framed much before his so-called "marriage" in such a way that he could be entitled to the "privilege" after entering into the controversial "wedlock".
And after a senior Qatari woman official of the QMA refused to approve the housing allowance for this foreigner, the non-Qatari head of human resource (HR) intervened, ordering her to sign the papers, he added. According to him, the height was that the man in question brought his "controversial partner" to the office and even introduced him to his colleagues.
The head of the QMA inserted clauses in the employee's job contract, entitling him to such benefits without any legal basis, the columnist said.
"He (the head) anticipated that something of that sort would happen in the employee's life in the near future and that explains why he altered the contract's clauses."
Not only that, the contracts of several other foreign employees of QMA were changed and their salaries were more than doubled to QR85,000 a month, the columnist claimed.
"On top of it, some 14 Qatari employees of the Authority were sacked on various grounds and replaced with foreigners."
Many non-Qatari employees were given family status and housing allowances in accordance with that status, but their families never visited Doha, he claimed.
A woman employee of a state-owned energy corporation was appointed in the QMA as a consultant and she drew two salaries.
Many staff members of the QMA who resigned were brought back as consultants on higher salaries and perks, claimed Al Marzouki.
He has cited many examples of what he claims shows how "boldly and without any fear" a handful of "foreigners" in authority in the QMA were using it as their personal fiefdom.
"Even citizens would shudder doing things with so much impunity. This wouldn't be happening if there was supervision from above," said yet another commentator.
Commentators said they hoped the authorities would intervene and order investigations and punish the guilty.
They said they also hoped the government would make sure that the Administrative and Transparency Authority would be made to play a more proactive role in monitoring such agencies as the QMA.
"Place it under the State Audit Bureau," said still another commentator.
"Qatar must progress with our effort and brain. Expatriates are only there to play a supportive role," said Al Marzouki.
In this context, some people also raised the issue of NGOs and said that some of them were managed entirely by expatriates who were given a free hand.
"There is no monitoring. There is no supervision from above. The expatriates running them have full freedom to do things they wish to," said a commentator.
People commenting on social networking sites said they were looking forward to the response of the QMA to these allegations.
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