Friday, December 21, 2012
The Corruption in the Minstry of Housing and rumours of Moroccan Prostitutes?
Before I continue, for those who do not know, the Ministry of Housing in Oman is that great bastion of free lands for Omanis [though not quite free, nearly free]. Depending on what requirements one meets, an Omani citizen, male or female, may apply for land, either residential or commercial [though commercial has stricter requirements these days they do say at the 'ole Ministry]. Usually residential land is meted out according to tribal heritage. I.e. this is where your tribe is from, this is where your land is from. But if your family has not lived in the tribal area ect... for a reasonable ammount of time and such land would not be practical for you, you may apply to change lands for another area. This area SHOULD, and this is the key factor in the corruption nowadays, SHOULD BE OF EQUAL value to the land that you had earlier. But that may not be practical when people are exchanging a middle-of-nowhere location for Muscat.
On to the allegations of corruption. A recent story was posted on the Arabic sabla [Omani online forum] (which was taken down immediately, but not before Omanis managed to take the story and repost it all over the whatsappp phone message boards). The story allegated that through a string of Moroccan prostitutes who would take a commission in order to get lands equivelent in value to 60, 0000 Omani rials or more sexual favours would be exchanged for land papers. Photos and names were posted by someone claiming this deal was offered to him after waiting nearly a decade to recieve his rightful land.
Now whether this rumour was true or not, I wouldn't deign to say. I myself will not be part of another Omani-Moroccan Chicks are baaaaaad smear campaign.
What I can say, is my Ministry sources do say that they themselves were never aware of Moroccan girls coming in and out of the Ministry ever or regularily.
Which is different than the sabla story. Suspicious but possibly slanderous reasoning could still assume such deals took place beyond Housing Minstry offices and rooftop but there are no eyewitness accounts beyond the man who added the online story to back-up the "blame the Moroccans" account.
But one particular family member who is perhaps a more reliable source since he quit his own position in the Ministry because he was tired of everyone in our tribe and family expecting him to do favours to finish lands for a more humble position therein, can relate that he has known cases of Omani girls [not professional prostitutes] that did sexual errr, stuff, in order to finish their family's papers. That was the price of wasta someone at the Minstry [who I won't name because neither my source nor I are willing to get into any legalalities over this] to get the paper.
I know Omanis will find that fact overly disgusting, and not to say that it isn't. But many families I know personally may find that disgusting but are okay to use the influence of a friend to exchange a 6,000 OMR peice of land for a 22, 000 OMR peice of land, or get a commercial land that they do not have the requirements to be entitled to.
My family and firends included. Some of them really nice people, but I mean, haraam [arabic word meaning 'sinful' or 'not allowed'].
No offense Minstry of Housing, but it IS KIND OBVIOUS that corruption is the norm therein, when an employee that makes only 300 OMR and never had a baiza to his name before he got his job within the Ministry, now drives a car more expensive than any doctor [and even a couple of Ministers whose tastes run more humble] I have ever known and has lands in areas of Shatti and Al Qurum that folks that hail from Shatti and Al Qurum don't have enough wasta to get, and all his family finish their papers in a day, while it takes eight years for others to do the same in areas "where available lands are limited". Um, yeah, and Shatti and Al Qurum don't have that problem, yeah hummm, yeah right.
But I'm sure, as a person, Mr. 300 OMR a month is really such a swell guy, that everyone and himself, just had to help him out. That has to be it.
That's how it always is.
I know it is much easier to blame some dudes who are pervs and a string of Moroccan prostitutes for the corruption, but it really is our own faults as Omanis, when people say, well, if our son/father/nephew/cousin/neice/daughter in the Minstry didn't do that than others would do it anyways and all the lands would even up taken illegally anyways, and I mean, at least they didn't trade sexual favours for anything.
Everyone sighs a sigh of relief when their own family member (who does use wasta at said Ministry) doesn't appear in the list of names in the Housing Ministry Sex Scandal on sabla, LOL.
But it isn't funny.
Next up on my rants on tribalism/wasta/corruption: The dude at the Minstry of the Interior [passport, immigration, ect] who offered to get me my Omani passport in six months if I bought him a new Galaxy type phone.