The UAE’s President and Abu Dhabi Ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a law merging the Abu Dhabi Investment Council with the Mubadala Investment Company. The new Fund will have approximately $250 billion in assets. The Mubadala Investment Company’s board of directors will now become the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s board but the Council’s senior leadership will continue to manage the Fund and report to the Mubadala Group CEO and Managing Director, Khaldoon Khalifa al Mubarak.
The Governors of the GCC monetary agencies and Central Banks have agreed to establish a Gulf disbursements company to facilitate money transactions between them. All members have contributed to the company’s capital and are seeking specialist consultations on the payment system. The company will be headquartered in Riyadh and a secondary office will be based in Abu Dhabi. The aim is to provide a quick and safe environment for financial transactions between them.
Salasah Primary Court has issued a first-of-its-kind community service sentence to a number of defendants. The convicts were sentenced the to sweep and clean roads in Salalah province, in southern Oman. They have been ordered to do this for four hours a day for a month in addition to their original sentence. Article 57 of the new Omani Penal Code allows supplementary penalties, including the commissioning of a social service. Convicts can also be jailed for one month if they do not comply with public service sentences.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Insurance Council has confirmed it is scrapping the individual health insurance system for private sector employees. The Council added employers should provide insurance to employees and their families. This includes spouses, male children under 25 and unmarried daughters. The aim is to transfer responsibility for health insurance from employees to employers, regulate the health insurance market more effectively and eliminate fake insurance.
Oman’s Royal Police have announced the Sultanate’s new traffic laws have come into force today (1 March). The Police have introduced a black point system from today which will see black points issued against any drivers who violate the new laws. Under the system, motorists who get more than 12 points in a calendar year will have their licences suspended for six months. Drivers who accumulate another 12 points after this in the next year will have their licence confiscated for a year. Those who accumulate 12 points in a third year will see their licence cancelled. They will also have to pay 100 Rials and retake their driving test. Amongst the changes, new drivers will be issued with temporary licences and will have to complete a probation period. Drivers who get more than 10 points in this period will have to take additional lessons. If they get more than seven points in a year they will have their temporary licence extended for a year. Drivers who get up to six points during their probation will be able to obtain a ten-year licence while expatriates will get a two-year licence. Those who get a licence for ten years will only have to renew them after they expire. Seat belts for passengers and child seats for those under four are also now mandatory. There have also been changes to the penalties regime for 52 offences. Fines which have been increased include parking in disabled bays from 10 to 50 Rials and drivers who cover their faces, including women will be increased to 50 Rials.
From 17 June 2018, vehicles in Kuwait will have to meet a new requirement to get their registration issued or renewed. The General Manager of the General Authority for Environment, Dr Mohammed Alahmad made the announcement. In addition to other inspection requirements, vehicles will have to pass an environmental test which means they should meet the environmental standards.
KSA: Agencies working to tackle the increasing numbers of cases involving government purchase irregularities
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has asked the Kingdom’s National Anti-Corruption Commission to work with other agencies to tackle the increasing numbers of cases involving government purchase irregularities. It comes as the country has recorded the highest ever number of bribery cases. The call came during the Council’s latest meeting.
Following a surge in off-plan sales in 2017, the authorities are planning regulatory changes. If approved, Dubai property developers would need to have hit 50% completion for their project, instead of 20% before they can start selling off-plan. Developers would also still need to pay off all land costs.
In a landmark decision, the Dubai International Finance Centre Courts have ruled a claim against Deloitte and Touche (Middle East) for negligence and deceit can go to trial as the judge considers it has a ‘real prospect of success’. The case has been brought against the auditing firm by Nest Investments Holding SAL who were an investor in the collapsed Lebanese Canadian Bank. The Lebanese arm of the firm acted as the Bank’s auditors from 1995 until its liquidation. The case was brought following charges by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and US Treasury. The judgment extends potential liability for Dubai International Finance Centre institutions, like Deloitte and Touche (Middle East) for acts or omissions of foreign agents in non-Dubai International Finance Centre jurisdictions.
Senior officials at Bahrain’s Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry have announced a new Commercial Maritime Law is being considered. The aim is to boost the country’s maritime transportation and logistics sector and user experience at its Khalifa Bin Salman Port. It forms part of the Ministry’s wider maritime transport strategy.