Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority have announced labour complaints can now be filed at two new offices. They will be based at the Labour Claims Departments at the Expatriate Protection Centre in Sehla and the Labour Market Regulatory Authority branch in Riffa will register all labour-related disputes, including non-payment of wages. However, the offices will not deal with existing cases. They will be open five days a week from 8am to 4pm. The complainant will be given a case number and a court hearing date as soon as the grievance is recorded. The aim is to speed up the registration of labour disputes.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council has approved a draft law to amend Article 284(A) of Bahrain Decree-Law No. 21/2001 (the Commercial Companies Law). It covers an agent’s attendance at general assembly meetings of joint-stock companies and will allow representatives to attend on behalf of shareholders or partners if they have written authorisation. The Chairman of the Council’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee said the amendment will give powers of attorney to representatives while they attend the assembly. The move is aimed at improving transparency and help avoid conflicts of interest.
Bahrain’s Parliament is considering a draft maritime law, which if approved, will increase penalties for various offences. At 392 articles it is the second longest law to be considered in the Kingdom’s legislative history. Parliament will debate and vote on the draft law within three months.
Among other things, the law states fines of between 1,000 and 10,000 Dinars or jail terms of up too six months will be imposed on those who operate without a license, handle cargo without authorisation or fall short of the safety standards. Ship owners, managers, captains or agents who evade fees or taxes or cheat officials will be jailed for up to six months and/or fined 10,000 Dinars. Vessel owners or operators who cause pollution will be fined between 5,000 and 50,000 Dinars and the ship will be temporarily seized. If they commit the same offence again, the fine will be doubled.
Those who dump oil and chemicals at sea will be jailed for up to five years in jail and fined between 15,000 and 150,000 Dinars. If they commit the same offence again, the fine will be doubled. Captains who don’t report pollution their ships cause will be fined between 1,000 and 3,000 Dinars and captains whose ships carry unauthorised nuclear waste will be fined between 50,000 and 100,000 Dinars.
Bahraini MPs have rejected proposed amendments to the Commercial Registration Law. The amendments were going to allow the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry rather than applicants to follow up on approvals related to commercial registrations. They were also going to double penalties on individuals if they committed the same violation of their commercial registration terms twice rather than having it doubled for a second offence, even if unrelated.
The Head of Bahrain’s Execution Court has announced it is going to expedite procedures in the Court. The Courts have been split to hear different cases and enable them to provide more effective e-services. The number of Execution Court judges have also been increased from six to eight. The changes have been introduced together with the Supreme Judicial Council and the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry. Private firms will also be able to act as legal notaries if they are licensed.
Bahrain’s Bourse launched a public consultation on a proposed administrative fines framework. The consultation was launched on 24 November and ended on 5 December 2019. The proposed framework is being introduced in line with the Bourse’s Listing Rules which relate to their powers to impose administrative fines on issuers in the event of non-compliance with the Listing Rules and any other applicable rules, regulations and directives.
To ensure this power is used appropriately, the Bourse is proposing establishing a framework to impose administrative fines for non-compliance with the applicable rules, regulations and directives. The fines will vary depending on the impact and frequency of the violation. They will range between 500 and 10,000 Dinars for each violation and can be up to 100,000 Dinars for cross-listed companies exceeding 30% of an issuer’s share capital for each secondary market they are listed on. All cases will be assessed and reviewed by an Issuer Violation Committee which will be established by the Bourse.
Bahrain’s First High Criminal Court issued verdicts in the case of six suspects found guilty of joining a terrorist group and attempting an explosion. They were also charged with acquiring and possessing explosives without a license, and training on the making of explosives. Five were sentenced to life in prison and the sixth was jailed for five years. They were each fined 500 Dinars and the items were seized. They had received money, advice and materials from abroad and had attempted to blow up a bank ATM but the device failed.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have announced they have completed the first Blockchain transaction. It involved the financing of an international trade transaction between the Saudi British Bank and HSBC. The transaction related to shipping standardised aluminum billets from Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) to Saudi Arabia’s Altaiseer Aluminum Corporation (TALCO). TALCO issued a Letter of Credit (LC) on a blockchain-based platform using R3’s Corda system. The system enables information to be traced and tracked as it moves between parties. As it keeps all stakeholders in the loop, it reduces the need for reconciliation and speeds up transactions, while providing visibility on progress for all of the relevant parties.
The CEO of Bahrain’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority has urged real estate valuers to apply for a license from the Authority before the 2 November 2019 deadline. The Authority was launched on 1 March 2018 and initially focused on the licensing of developers, off-plan sales developments, real estate brokers and sales agents. In late 2018, the licensing requirements and regulations were extended to property managers and owner association managers. All providers of real estate valuation services have to hold a Authority license by 2 November 2019. All licensed valuers have to attend the English-language Valuation Standards and Regulations course on 20 and 21 November and 24 and 25 November in Arabic. To register licensed valuers should email email@example.com.
Bahrain’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority has announced it is launching a crackdown on money laundering in the Kingdom’s real estate sector. The crackdown will be launched together with other Government bodies. The aim is to eradicate money laundering in this sector in the Kingdom. The announcement follows the publication of Bahrain Decision No. 3/2019 to mitigate money laundering risks in the real estate sector. Under the Decision, all real estate licensees have to appoint a Compliance Officer who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with Bahrain Law No. 27/2017.