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MP by-elections seen likely before Ramadan

 KUWAIT CITY, May 5: The parliamentary Budget and Final Accounts Committee discussed Monday the proposed budget of the Anti-Corruption Public Authority for fiscal 2014/2015. Committee member MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji confirmed he appreciates the important role played by the authority in protecting integrity, combating corruption, raising public awareness on the dangerous repercussions of corrupt practices, and coordinating with Gulf, Arab and international organizations and those participating in programs aimed at combating corruption.

He stressed the need to support the authority financially and morally to guarantee efficient performance of its duties and to remove all obstacles to its work towards the elimination of corruption. He said the authority’s functions include calculation of its financial needs and approval of budget and final accounts. He added Article 19 of the authority’s regulation states that the minister of finance grants it the power to carry out the aforementioned tasks, indicating that any cut or deduction from the budget will have a negative impact on its functions. On the other hand, Rapporteur of the Petition and Complaints Committee MP Ahmed Al-Azmi disclosed they discussed Monday two complaints from citizens regarding the Public Authority of Minors Affairs. He said the first complaint is about an abandoned child who died, but the authority took it upon itself to distribute his belongings.

The committee then asked the representatives of the authority to present official documents related to the issue to ensure their response to queries in this regard is comprehensive. The lawmaker added the second complaint is also about the authority but none of the concerned parties attended the meeting. This has prompted the committee to postpone deliberations on the complaint until its next meeting. The committee requested the authority to submit a report on its activities. Member of the committee MP Khaleel Abdullah revealed they have discovered a number of violations in the authority; such as mismanagement of financial and personal belongings, as well as the investment funds. He stressed the need to follow up these issues to make sure the errors are rectified. In another development, MP Sadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi expects the bye elections to be held before the holy month of Ramadan. He said the Parliament, in its next session, will tackle only the resignation of MPs Riyadh Al-Adsani, Hussein Al-Quwaian and Abdulkarim Al-Kandari. He believes the resignation of these MPs will be accepted in the next session. He explained the resignation of MPs Ali Al- Rashed and Safa Al- Hashem will be discussed in another session because they have yet to complete the required period.

Resignation Commenting on the same issue, MP Adel Al-Kharafi admitted he is extremely saddened by the resignation of his five colleagues. He said he is dealing with the issue in an impartial manner, asserting “the Parliament just lost fully capable members with technical and professional weight.” He argued the resignation of these MPs raised doubts on the political arena and it has become imperative for the remaining MPs to prove their ability to work in the interest of Kuwaitis. He urged the government to be alert as more crises are expected to surface if it uses the same approach. He added the executive branch must fully comprehend the message sent by MP Ali Al-Rashid when he announced his decision to stay away from parliamentary life. When asked if he thinks the Parliament will complete its constitutional term, Al- Kharafi said that if a decree calling for a bye election is issued, then the legislature will survive. MP Saleh Ashour asserted the political scene has been witnessing disorder over the past few weeks, indicating a bye election is expected due to the resignation of some MPs. He believes none of the remaining MPs will argue about this election but there might be differences in opinion regarding the timing. He is of the view that the election should take place within the next two months, or at the end of this parliamentary term. In the meantime, MP Faisal Al-Shaya has forwarded questions to HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al- Sabah about what MP Abdullah Al- Tamimi said in a television interview that he received money from the Diwan of the Prime Minister as aid to the Husseiniyas. He pointed out the interview generated various reactions from the public. This interview had prompted three MPs to present an interpellation request against the prime minister, but the Parliament decided to remove it from the agenda due to its unconstitutionality; taking into consideration the range of topics. After this, the search for the truth stopped, he added. He wants the premier to clarify the issue once and for all, in order to end all speculations. He asked the premier if he gave money, in cash or cheque, to any member of the Parliament to help solve the problems of citizens.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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