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Oil minister faces ‘jail’ in ignoring court ruling

KUWAIT CITY, March 13: A court verdict on the reinstatement of three top officials in the Oil Sector has taken a new dimension, which might lead to the imprisonment and dismissal of Oil Minister Dr Ali Al-Omair from his position as Board Chairperson of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). Commenting on the issue, former Executive Director for Administrative and Financial Affairs at KPC Ali Al-Hajeri asserted; “We, as people living in an institutional State, will demand for the strict implementation of Article 58 of the Penal Code that stipulates jail term and dismissal on whoever commits perjury.”

Sharing Al-Hajeri’s sentiment, former Executive Director for International Marketing at the corporation Nasser Al-Mudhaf disclosed the three officials have taken the necessary steps and consulted with Attorney Al-Humaidi Al-Subai’e to contact the minister for clarification early next week.  He added, “In case the minister fails to implement the court verdict, we have no option but to take action because he is the highest authority in the sector.”  The article states, “Any public official who deliberately ignores the implementation of a judicial verdict after 30 days of notification by the court bailiff shall be imprisoned for two years maximum.  Only the Public Prosecution shall handle the investigation and take the necessary action without the option of pleas against the crime.”

According to a reliable source, the three officials will approach the Prosecutor General to instruct the minister, in his capacity as Board Chairperson of the corporation, to execute the judicial verdict by reinstating them.  He said none of the three officials - Shatha Al-Sabah, Nasser Al-Mudhaf and Ali Al-Hajeri - was invited to the recent board meeting of the corporation.  The source revealed the legal consultant of the corporation said the Fatwa and Legislation Department is of the view that reinstatement of the officials as per the verdict issued on March 10 is not mandatory.  The source added the consultant, who consistently claims he is receiving KD 6,000 monthly salary, has implied that reinstating the officials as consultants is tantamount to executing the verdict.  The source noted the decision of the corporation is not only a violation of the judicial verdict but also exposure of hidden agenda against the concerned officials.  The source confirmed the minister went out of the last board meeting before issuance of the decision.  

On the other hand, there have been contradicting statements on whether Al-Omair knew about the decision or not.  Some sources claimed the minister tried hard not to take decision during the meeting, while those close to him said he was unaware of the issue being tabled or voted for as it was listed as ‘new development of work’; hence, the corporation should bear responsibility for its decision.
Meanwhile, sources wondered about the position taken by KPC as it has forwarded an official letter to the Fatwa and Legislation Department; requesting for its legal opinion on the reinstatement of the three officials only to defy the response.  Sources pointed out this scenario indicates that the officials had ill-intentions in the first place and there are unknown hands behind the strange decision; asserting the KPC leadership must bear the repercussions.

By Abdullah Othman
Al-Seyassah Staff

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