Muscat: The number of cases reported in 2021 stood at 28,201, an increase of 18.3 percent over 2020, the Public Prosecution Department has said.
Speaking at a press conference held at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, Attorney General Nasr Khamis Al Sawa’ee said that the Public Prosecution Department is currently coordinating with the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) and other authorities to figure out the cause of the rise in criminal cases in 2021, but he affirmed that “the criminal curve does not constitute a danger in itself”.
The press conference reviewed important issues, statistics, judicial discretions and the number of suspects and verdicts in 2021.
Al Sawa’ee added that the Public Prosecution Department applied mitigated procedures when gathering data and conducting interrogations prior to trial.
The procedures undertaken included non-application of pretrial arrest or confiscation of documents, he said, noting that this led to quick clearance of claims. In reply to a question by Oman News Agency about whether rumours spread in social media had any role in the emergence of behaviour trends alien to Omani society, Al Sawa’ee affirmed the correlation between such rumours and negative behaviour. He said that it is the duty of mainstream media to address this issue.
Al Sawa’ee pointed out that, through coordination with the State’s Financial and Administrative Audit Institution (SAI), a total of 107 cases of tampering with public funds were reported in 2021. These include 33 cases of mishandling of public funds by a government official to draw personal benefit, 26 cases of misuse of profession, 120 cases of bringing benefit to other parties and 9 cases of failure to perform one’s duties deliberately.
Al Sawa’ee said that he looked forward to online investigation and litigation and that the Public Prosecution Department floated a tender for this purpose in 2021.
Common cases include 1,470 cases of insult, 322 cases of violating the sanctity of private life, 270 cases of threatening individuals and 29 cases of blackmail.
Speaking about the indicators of cases in 2021, Dr. Ahmed Al Shukaili, Assistant Attorney General and official spokesman of the Public Prosecution Department said that with 11,719 Muscat Governorate accounted for 41.6 percent of the cases followed by North Al Batinah Governorate with 4,098 cases or 14.5 percent.
Al Shukaili added that by comparing the total number of cases in 2020 and 2021, it appeared that the greatest percentage of rise in cases occurred in the Governorate of Dhofar (52 percent), followed by South Al Batinah Governorate (34 percent).
He explained that premeditated murder cases went up in 2021 (13 cases) as against nine cases in 2020. Cases involving public funds and money-laundering reported in 2021 rose slightly to 138 in 2021, compared to 132 in 2020, said Al Shukaili, adding that cases of human trafficking reported in 2021 stood at 17, compared to 7 in 2020. He pointed out that the number of felonies reported to the Public Prosecution Department in 2021 rose by 73 to 1,255 cases, or 6.2 percent higher than the figure in 2020, which was 1,182 cases.
The number of cases of misdemeanors reported to the Public Prosecution Department in 2021 went up by 18.5 percent (26,630), compared to 2020, when it was 22,468, Al Shukaili further said.
He added that the number of suspects registered in 2021 stood at 34,873 or 16 percent higher than the figure in 2020, which was (30,069). The number of juveniles in 2021 constituted 2.1 percent of the total number of suspects. Gender-wise, he added that the number of males constituted 89.5 percent of suspects in 2021, compared to 89.8 percent in 2020.
Dr. Ahmed Al Shukaili, Assistant Attorney General and official spokesman of the Public Prosecution Department, said that the total number of verdicts issued in 2021 stood at 10,350 partial verdicts, less by 3.3 percent or 349 verdicts in 2020.
He said that the number of verdicts enforced in 2020 stood at 10,699 partial verdicts. The number of non-enforced verdicts till the end of 2021 stood at 1,420. The percentage of verdicts enforced in 2021 constituted 87.9 percent of the total number of verdicts. Only 12.1 percent of the verdicts on funds collected as “public right” in 2021 are in the process of execution, he said.
He also pointed out the crime of presenting dishonoured cheques (without sufficient funds) top the list of 10 most common crimes in 2021 with 7,143 cases, followed by crimes of information technology and digital transactions (2,864), violation of expatriate residency (2,858), the use of drugs and psychotropic substances (2,749), violation of human liberty and human dignity (2,340), violation of the Labour Law (2,166), violation of the Traffic Law (2,034), violation of the Consumer Protection Law (2,002), theft (1,918) and blackmail (1,685). -ONA