MPs submit more grillings Panel completes discussions on laundering, anti-terror bills

KUWAIT CITY, Feb. 18: Two more grilling requests against state ministers were submitted by lawmakers on Monday; bringing the total number of motions filed up to four since the National Assembly was elected in December.

MPs Saadoun Hammad and Nawaf Al-Fuzai filed a grilling motion against Oil Minister Hani Hussein on five proponents. They wish to question the minister on the dealings of the Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC) with the Dow Chemical Company and recent promotions at the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries.

The motion says that there is misconduct by Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) and its partnership with Israeli fuel company Delek Group as well as financial and administrative irregularities and waste of public funds at foreign oil refineries belonging to Kuwait.

It make accusations that KPI has continued to have partnerships with Delek Group since 2007 in violation of a law on the boycott of Israel. “The Oil Ministry continues to intentionally allow KPI stations in Europe to sell alcohol and pornographic magazines which is punishable by the Penal code,” it added. The grilling also outlines that financial and administrative violations were being committed by two foreign mediators hired by KPI that are being covered up by the company.

Furthermore, MP Nawaf Al-Fuzai filed to grill Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shammali on the issue of citizens’ loans. The motion contains three proponents on the Central Bank of Kuwait’s oversight procedures of commercial banks and financial institutions and the banks’ procedures of granting loans’ to citizens and alleged breaches of contracts. The lawmaker claims that the banks’ operational systems are faulty and that the CBK has failed to supervise the banks loan procedures and interests.

MP Saadoun Hammad said that evidence has been provided with the grilling motions and will be discussed during the debate. On his part, Al-Fuzai said his grilling against the Finance Minister “does not seek to discuss the write-off of citizen loans or loan interests, but seeks justice through the application of law and that is by removing the banks’ board of directors.”

He added that “none of the board of directors of any bank was deposed of even though violations of the law were committed thousands of times.” “Many Kuwaiti families were wronged and the Finance Minister did not perform his duties properly,” he stated.

The grilling motions of MP Hussein Al-Qallaf against Minister of Communication Salem Al-Uthaina and MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan against Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah are on the agenda of this week’s parliament session.

Al-Qallaf’s grilling is on the re-hiring of high-ranking officials after they were investigated and convicted by committees formed at the ministry as well as alleged violations committed at the ministry.

Meanwhile, Al-Duwaisan’s grilling is on the Interior Minister’s alleged “slackness in regards to the threat of Zionist espionage to Kuwait due to a security deal with an Israeli security company” and “the adoption of policies that violate the ethics and values that are upheld by security personnel, therefore compromising their role and respectability within society.”

Al-Duwaisan said that “if the Interior Minister does not attend the grilling session, he will be considered as resigned and if HH the Amir decides it is suitable to use Article 106 of the Constitution than that is fine but find the cause.”

Article 106 of the Constitution states: “The Amir may, by a decree, adjourn the meeting of the National Assembly for a period not exceeding one month. Adjournment may be repeated during the same session with the consent of the Assembly and then only once. A period of adjournment is not counted in computing the duration of the session.”

“I will not object or withdraw my motion if it is postponed and if the minister is incapable of facing the grilling then he should resign,” continued Al-Duwaisan.

He said there is “a big difference between this Assembly and the annulled one” and dismissed predictions that the Assembly might be dissolved saying that “it will be more costly for the government than the Assembly.”

“I believe the Assembly will continue for four years without dissolution,” he stated.

The Legal and Legislative Committee of the National Assembly on Monday completed discussions on the government money laundering and ant-terrorism draft laws in the presence of representatives from the ministries of Interior, Justice and Finance.

Speaking to reporters, committee chairperson MP Masouma Al-Mubarak said the committee has accomplished the most important law. She added the committee will meet again on March 3, 2013 to look into the bill again and then submit it to the Parliament for approval.

She added, that by putting finishing touches to this law the committee has accomplished something important for the country and the people “particularly since this law will improve the image of Kuwait at the international level.”

She said the committee has done its duty and played its part concerning this bill. She queried the government role in such an important bill which was collecting dust for several years.

In another development, the Criminal Court adjourned to March 18 the case filed against 69 individuals, including nine former lawmakers who were accused of storming the National Assembly building on the Black Wednesday. The court listened to submissions of ex-MP Khaled Al-Sultan and Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Affairs Major General Mahmoud Al-Dosari before adjourning the case to summon four other witnesses.

Ex-MP Faisal Al-Mislim was absent during the court session as he was unwell while Rashid Al-Enezi testified.

Major General Al-Dosari insisted that he did not order the protestors to enter the premises but had directed them towards Erada Square. He denied the claim that he had received an order to shut the gate of the premises to prevent protestors from exiting the place, adding that the paths leading to Yawm Al-Bahar, Kuwait Airways Corporation building and Othman Mosque were open, which thousands of people used as exits.

During his submission, ex-MP Khaled Al-Sultan queried, “How did the National Assembly Speaker know that the penalty for the suspects will be life imprisonment?”

He protested against referring the incident as ‘Storming of the National Assembly’ because he claimed the gates were open. He faulted the complaint lodged by former speaker of National Assembly Jassem Al-Khorafi regarding forceful storming of the National Assembly building. He indicated that some power groups of the parliament presented the case to make it seem like destruction of public facilities.

The incident occurred on Nov 16, 2011 following an opposition rally at the Erada Square when the protesters were marching to the residence of former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to demand his resignation.

At this time several youths, political activists and former MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Faisal Al-Muslim, Salem Al-Namlan, Mubarak Al-Walan, Mohammed Al-Khalifa, Jamaan Al-Harbash, Khaled Al-Tahous, Falah Al-Sawagh and Mohammed Al-Mutair stormed the Parliament building.

Besides storming the Parliament building, the suspects are facing many other charges such as damaging government property, disrupting parliamentary sessions, assaulting securitymen and security guards manning the Parliament and inciting securitymen to disobey their commanders.

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

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