Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Legal Updates - February 25, 2014

Royal Decree ratifying the Sultanate's joining the United Nations Convention against Corruption

In the attempt to prevent and eradicate corruption in the Sultanate of Oman, his Majesty the Sultan Qaboos bin Said has recently issued Royal Decree 64/2013 ratifying the Sultanate in joining the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (the “UNCAC”).

The UNCAC is known as the first global legally binding international anti-corruption instrument and it comprises 71 Articles divided into 8 Chapters. The UNCAC will require countries such as Oman to implement several anti-corruption measures which may affect their laws, institutions and practices, which includes for instance:

  1. to carry out obligations in a manner that is consistent with the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States and that of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other States;
  2. to coordinate with one another to prevent and eradicate corruption;
  3. to periodically evaluate relevant legal instruments and administrative measures with a view to determine their adequacy to prevent and fight corruption;
  4. to increase and disseminate knowledge about the prevention of corruption; and
  5. to promote adequate remuneration and equitable pay scales, taking into account the level of economic development.
These measures are an attempt to minimize and prevent corruption, strengthen international law enforcement, criminalize certain behaviour, and provide effective legal mechanisms for asset recovery. The Royal Decree was published in the Official Gazette and is effective from 20th of November 2013.

Ministerial Decision stops the issuance of fresh visas to non-Omanis

On 18th of November 2013, the Ministry of Manpower issued Ministerial Decision No. 608 of 2013 which prevents private sector establishments from bringing non-Omani workforce members into the sales and marketing professions. The permits to bring non-Omani workforce members shall be stopped for a period of six months. This decision is not applicable to the establishment registered under the excellent grade category and the international grade companies. The decision will come into effect from 1st December 2013.