Panel finalizes report on draft debt proposals MPs to review Barrak court chaos

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 4: The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday voiced objection to a memorandum of understanding between Kuwait and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to establish the IMF Economic and Finance Center in the Middle East with its headquarters in Kuwait.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Committee Chairman MP Saleh Ashour explained the government implemented the memorandum without obtaining approval from the Parliament; hence, the panel is against it. He stressed the need to take the necessary steps to prevent the recurrence of the problem; especially since Articles 17 and 27 of the memorandum stipulates that it will take effect from the day the IMF receives a notification from Kuwait and provided all the constitutional procedures are taken. “Unfortunately, these conditions were not fulfilled,” he asserted.

Ashour added the committee is not satisfied with the response of Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali to the queries on the center’s operational expenses and the percentage of Kuwaitis who will work there.
Meanwhile, the committee approved the investment agreement between Kuwait and Djibouti, the proposed opening of a Kuwaiti consulate in the Iranian city of Mashad, and the fundamental regulations for the Arab Gulf Cooperation Center for the Management of Emergency Situations.

On the other hand, the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee has finalized its report on the six loans write-off draft proposals and it will be submitted to the Parliament on Tuesday for discussion and voting.
The proposals include stipulations on restructuring the Defaulters Fund to help citizens pay their electricity and waters bills and another on the financial grant for families without loans to ensure justice for all.

However, parliamentary sources said the report of the committee will not be included in the agenda for Tuesday’s session. Sources explained the report was forwarded to the Parliament Office only after the distribution of the agenda to the lawmakers last Thursday; hence, it will not be discussed this week unless the lawmakers request for it as a matter of urgency.

In another development, two hours of Tuesday’s session had been allocated for deliberations on the turn of events during the Jan 27 hearing of a case against opposition ex-MP Musallam Al-Barrak. Several MPs requested the discussion on what they described as “chaos” witnessed in the Justice Palace when a large number of Al-Barrak’s supporters were allowed to demonstrate during the hearing.

Also, MP Yaqoub Al-Sanei has asked the government to respond clearly to MPs’ queries regarding the allegation made by former lawmaker and Minister Shuaib Al-Muwaizri on the misappropriation of public funds during the special session slated for Thursday. “The government must attend the session and respond clearly with evidence. If not, will we will use our constitutional tools which include interpellation,” he warned.

Moreover, MP Saadoun Hammad claimed in a query forwarded Monday to Minister of Oil Hani Hussein that there is a partnership between Kuwait Petroleum International and Israeli fuel company Derek Group. He wants to know why this happened despite “the Kuwaitis’ categorical rejection of any dealings with the Zionist entity and the State’s policies and laws which prohibit any dealings or normalization with the Zionists.”

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Nihal Sharaf Arab Times Staff

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