Some of the participants at the rally.
Opposition calls for ouster of PM, dissolution of parliament Rally at Erada Square attracts huge crowd

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 19: Thousands of opposition supporters thronged the Erada Square Wednes-day night to listen to their leaders speak at a rally titled “Sovereignty of the Nation” organized by Nahj, an umbrella opposition group to call for the dissolution of the government as well as fresh parliamentary elections to elect new legislators and a new prime minister.

The rally, the biggest anti-government gathering so far in Kuwait, attracted over 15,000 people according to organizers’ estimate, but the Arab Times’ own estimate put the crowd to be somewhere between 6 and 7 thousand strong. The crowd thronged the arena in their numbers because two MPs, Faisal Al-Muslim and Musallam Al-Barrak had promised to release new information to prove the corrupt practices of the Prime Minister.

Protesters cheered, as speakers took turns to heap accusations at the Prime Minister, with Faisal Al-Muslim, the first MP to take the podium, saying to the Amir that corruption under the government of Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister has reached dizzying heights and he does not need to continue staying in power as that could put the country at risk. “The people want to see the departure of Parliament in addition to Sheikh Nasser,” added the Islamist MP.

Faisal Al-Muslim presented information on two cheques valued KD490,000 were issued by the Prime Minister to two current MPs, one of the cheques valued KD 250,000 and the other KD 240,000, explaining that the MPs used the money to pay off their real estate loans.

 He said the Prime minister should not think he can scapegoat the foreign minister Sheikh Dr Mohammed Al-Sabah in the scandal and stay in power.

For his part, MP Musallam Al-Barrak said the Prime Minister is incompetent and untrustworthy, adding “Cowards and untrustworthy people cannot build a nation”

Barrak using a projector, showed to the crowd classified documents detailing “485 suspicious money transfers” made by the government through the Interior Ministry in 2006 mostly to Geneva, London and New York, totalling several millions of dollars.

Al-Barrak also presented photos of money transfers estimated at millions of dinars from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the accounts of the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, saying that the transfers are made through telephones without records or files and none of the transfers were linked to flood and earthquake victims in Pakistan as claimed. The Geneva accounts belonged to Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah.

He said three transfers were made in one day on April 7, 2007 which was one million Swiss francs, one million euros, $250,000 and KD 200,000 and that more than 450 suspicious bank transfers were made to Swiss, London and New York and in 2008 and in one day 147 financial transfers were made one of which were made to India under the name “Orphan transfer.”

He explained that the countries that were involved in the transfer included Dubai, Lebanon, Swiss, New York and London.

“I swear to God, to sit at home will be more respectful for us than to sit with briber and bribe-taker in one hall,” said Al-Barrak, adding that in the name of the nation and in the name of free people of Kuwait, “we say loudly that Sheikh Nasser is a poison for Kuwait.”

The persistent graft allegations appears to have claimed a first victim as Sheikh Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister who also doubled as foreign minister resigned from the government with Ali Al-Rashed, Cabinet spokesperson assuming the post of foreign minister.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Iddris Seidu - Arab Times Staff

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