Panel nod to pact on ‘cross-border crime’ Doubts on debt issue

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 11: The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly Monday unanimously approved three Arab agreements on combating organized crime across borders, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering.

The committee’s Rapporteur Taher Al-Failakawi stated the committee discussed the three agreements and because none of the members made any observations to these agreements the committee immediately approved them and referred them to the Parliament for discussing and voting.
Furthermore, the Finance and Economic Committee also approved 13 proposed amendments to the Commercial Companies Law in the presence of Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Al-Saleh and other government representatives.

Speaking to reporters after a committee meeting Monday, the committee Rapporteur Safa Al-Hashim explained several meetings were held earlier between the committee and the government and both sides had agreed on the amendments related to words and alphabets such as ‘joint-stock companies’ which was amended to ‘stock companies’.

About the meeting which the committee will hold Tuesday to discuss the government response to the committee’s report on writing off loan interests, Al-Hashim said she is not happy with the response given by the Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali who, she said, had not given the actual cost mentioned in the committee report and instead gave huge figures to make it look like the state would bear huge costs in resolving the loan issue.

She added the vague figures provided by the minister shows there is no good intention on the part of the government to help resolve the loan issue “but as per my nature, I am optimistic and waiting to see what the Minister will say during Tuesday’s meeting.”

In another development, seven MPs announced the formation of a new parliamentary bloc called ‘The Future Bloc’. The bloc members are Saleh Ashour, Ahmed Al-Mulaifi, Yaqoub Al-Sane, Nawaf Al-Fuzai, Khalil Al-Saleh, Abdullah Al-Tameemi and Hisham Al-Baghli.

In a press statement, the bloc said its objectives include achieving basics of parliamentary practices for the sake developing the country and that it would also work to achieve justice and equality in conformity with the bloc’s vision until citizens and residents get opportunity to enjoy political stability in civil life, at present and in future so that Kuwait occupies a place among the leading countries in the world.

The statement added the bloc would also work to achieve comprehensive development, establish democracy and ensure better ethical values, freedoms and transparency for reform and abstain from making sectarian and tribal statements and any statement that would undermine the unity of the society and its structural elements.

Meanwhile, members of the parliamentary committee investigating the financial and administrative violations in the Jaber Bridge and Al-Zour Power Plant projects met on Monday and elected MPs Khalaf Dumaithir as its chairman and Adnan Al-Mutawa, Rapporteur.

Speaking after the meeting, Al-Mutawa explained the committee had set its work priorities and will first invite the State Audit Bureau to look into issues pertaining to contracts and contractors after which several meetings will be held with ministries and the Fatwa and Legislation Department until the committee reaches the fact and submits its report to the Parliament for deliberation.

In the meantime, the Legal and Legislative Committee will meet on Tuesday to discus the proposed amendment to the period of pre-trial detention and another bill on anti-terrorism.

Member of the committee, Khaled Al-Shatti has expressed his opposition to the amendment bill which he said is aimed at reducing the period of pre-trial detention. He stressed his support for the one approved by the annulled 2012 Parliament “because it protects the freedoms and favors citizens, residents and the society as a whole,” he explained.

He added, “I support any thing that reduces powers of the executive authority and its influence. He urged the current government not to pass the new amendments and leave the law as approved by the previous Parliament.

Meanwhile, MP Hussein Al-Qallaf denied he intends to withdraw a grilling request against Minister of Communication Salem Al-Utheina that will come up for discussion on Feb 19, 2013.

He assured that, since the beginning of his parliamentary career, he had never withdrawn any grilling request which he had filed. He added the motion can be withdrawn if the minister resolves the issues cited before the debate session.

On another note, MP Askar Al-Enezi proposed the establishment of an authority for administrative oversight that is under the jurisdiction of the National Assembly.

The purpose of the authority, Al-Enezi said, is to monitor the administrative work of the government authorities and fight administrative corruption, develop the services provided to citizens and administrative management and hold officials accountable for any violations that are committed.

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

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