HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
‘MPs attending opposition rallies received govt bribes’ Panel discusses anti-corruption draft bill

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 16: Several lawmakers, including some veterans who participated in the opposition rallies at the Erada Square, have received bribes from the government and other countries, MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi disclosed at a press conference in the Parliament Sunday.

Al-Otaibi said he will disclose new details on the MPs involved in the bribery scandal at the opening of the next legislative round. He also refuted rumors that he had been referred to the Public Prosecution for his alleged involvement in the scam. He accused the administrator of an undisclosed website of spreading the rumors to cover up his misdeeds. He claimed the website administrator was actually referred to the prosecution, pointing out he was the first lawmaker to disclose his financial statements at the Parliament in 2003. He even published the statements on a website for the public to see all the details.

Stressing the need to implement the assets declaration bill retroactively starting from 1975, Al-Otaibi alleged two of the incumbent lawmakers were also part of the 1975 Parliament and one of them used to be an ordinary employee but his wealth has accumulated to billions of dinars. He said this particular MP, who became the leader of a parliamentary bloc, received land worth more than KD 100 million and oil projects estimated at a billion dinars from the ruler of a Gulf nation, which owns a satellite channel that had repeatedly insulted Kuwait.

“Some MPs, who attended the rallies at the Erada Square, have accused their colleagues of receiving bribes, yet one of them was the first to collect a cheque - the copy of which was shown in a parliamentary session earlier. At the beginning, he denied receiving the cheque, saying it was issued to a charity organization but when the copy was presented in the session, his name was written on it. He tried to violate the law as he established a charity foundation, along with his brothers, and collected KD 3 million. I have all the documents to support my claim,” Al-Otaibi added.

Revealed

Al-Otaibi revealed another MP received KD 500,000 from the government during the invasion. He initially asked for KD 10 million but the government refused due to the crisis the country was facing at the time. He pointed out that on the contrary, the late Khalid Al-Marzouq, a prominent Kuwaiti personality, donated KD 200 million to Kuwait, affirming he will present documents to prove his statement in the opening session of the next legislative round. He underscored the importance of enforcing the assets declaration bill retroactively, because all the MPs have been suspected of taking bribes.

The lawmaker attributed the ongoing conflicts among parliamentarians to the announcement of Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi that he has no intention to run in the next elections. “These people have been calling for the dissolution of the Parliament to take the speaker post but we will convince Al-Khorafi to participate in the elections. We will not allow them to prevail in the legislature,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee at the Parliament discussed the anti-corruption and anti-money laundering draft bills with the government’s representatives on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Committee Chairman MP Hussein Al-Huraiti admitted the panel has yet to finalize deliberations on the bills, so they agreed to meet again on Tuesday to discuss the proposals with the Higher Judicial Council representatives, who apologized for their absence in Sunday’s meeting because they were busy with the Constitutional Court hearing.

Moreover, MP Dr Hassan Jowhar suggested the formation of a committee to investigate the multimillion deposit scandal in response to the government’s attempt to prevent the submission of a grilling request against the premier by the Popular Labor, Development and Reform blocs.

Jowhar affirmed they will reveal the truth behind the scandal through the committee, especially since all the lawmakers have been implicated in the issue. He stressed the need to exonerate those who are innocent to protect not only their reputation, but also that of the Parliament.

In another development, Chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee MP Dr Yousef Al-Zalzalah confirmed the panel discussed Sunday most of the provisions of the revised public tenders bill. He said the panel will discuss the remaining provisions in its meeting on Monday to finalize the bill and submit it to the Parliament for voting.


By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim - Arab Times Staff

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