Court acquits PAI officials, staff in public funds scam Probe sought in awarding KD 738m Jaber Bridge contract

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 26:  The Criminal Court, presided over by Judge Wael Al-Atiqi, has acquitted some officials and employees at the Public Authority for Industry (PAI), including a former MP who served as the Board Chairman of an investment company, of illegally benefiting from public funds by changing the purpose of investing land from industrial to commercial.
Lawyer for the defendants, Attorney Bader Baqer, argued that his clients are innocent so he asked the court to exonerate them due to lack of incriminating evidence.  He pointed out the specified benefit for the project was within the objectives for its establishment, and all the agreements in this regard were drafted in accordance with the law.

Probe sought: Kuwait Municipality member Eng Ashwaq Al-Mudhaf on Monday submitted a petition to the Public Prosecution against the Jaber Bridge Project, requesting a thorough investigation on the alleged anomalies in awarding the contract worth KD738 million to a certain company.
Speaking to the press after submitting the petition, Al-Mudhaf disclosed she had earlier asked a team of legal consultants to study the possibility of submitting a petition to the Ministers Court against Minister of Public Works Dr Fadhel Safar on the same issue and to stop the execution of the project.

Minister accused: Lawyer Duwaim Al-Muweizri recently submitted a petition to the Public Prosecution in which he accused the Minister of Information of wasting public funds.
Al-Muweizri stated in his petition that the Ministry of Information is sending text, audio and video messages to Kuwaiti citizens, urging them to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
He indicated that it is not part of the ministry’s responsibilities to urge citizens to participate in the elections particularly during the current political crisis, stressing that the ministry should not be supporting one party over the other, as such an action contravenes with the Constitution particularly Articles 8 and 29.
He further stressed that the ministry has deviated from its policies, as there is no budgetary allocation for such an action.

Blogger freed: The Criminal Court on Sunday ordered the release of blogger Rashed Al-Enezi on bail bond of KD 2,000 and banned him from traveling until Dec 16 when the next hearing will take place.
The blogger is standing trial for defaming HH the Amir, abusing the telephone usage and participating in an illegitimate protest.
MPs Musallam Al-Barrak and Abdul-Rahman Al-Anjari attended the court session alongside the defense team, as the defendant denied all allegations against him. The defense team pleaded with the court to release him on bail, and assured he would not escape since he is a Kuwaiti citizen.
It will be recalled the court had earlier ordered continuous detention of the defendant for 10 days until investigations were concluded.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Court adjourned until Dec 23 the lawsuit against university teacher Fatmah Al-Matar who is standing trial for defaming the Amir.

Jan 7 hearing: The Criminal Court has set Jan 7 as the date for presenting the case against 69 individuals including former MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Khalid Al-Tahoos, Dr Faisal Al-Mislim, Dr Jama’an Al-Harbash, Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Falah Al-Sawwagh, Mubarak Al-Waalan, Mohammad Al-Mutair, Salim Al-Namlan and a number of prominent political figures for storming into the National assembly building.
During a recent session, the defense attorneys requested the court to suspend the hearing until the witnesses including former parliament speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi and Major General Mahmoud Al-Dosari are available.

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