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Ex-minister, former undersecretaries get 7 years in jail, heavy fines in funds scandal

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 29: In what seems to be unprecedented in the history of Kuwaiti judicial system, the Ministerial Court chaired by Judge Bader Al-Sar’awi sentenced each of the former minister of health Dr Ali Al- Obaidi, two former undersecretaries in the same ministry Dr Khalid Al-Sahlawi and Mahmoud Al-Abdulhadi, and an official of the USowned Aetna International Company Michele Dilamir to 7 years imprisonment with hard labor and KD10,000 for suspension of execution.

The court also ordered the removal of Kuwaiti officials from government positions and deportation of the fourth defendant after serving the term. The defendants were also ordered to refund $81 million and fined them double the sum. They were charged for illegitimate proceeds and misappropriation of public funds in a contract of the Ministry of Health.

The court also exonerated Al- Obaidi and others, including a former assistant undersecretary and a former director in a second case wherein they were accused of making illicit gains in a medicine sale contract to the ministry.

Nafisi arrest cancelled:
The presiding judge at the Criminal Court Consultant Mohammad Al-Mutairi has removed the arrest-and-detention order placed on former MP Dr Abdullah Al-Nafisi in the case filed against him for allegedly insulting the United Arab Emirates. The same court adjourned to Feb 11 the judgment on a similar case of insulting the UAE filed against Nasser Al- Duwailah. Ministry of Foreign Affairs had lodged complaints against Al-Nafisi and Al-Duwaila, demanding judicial actions against the duo with stiff punishments for threatening the cordial diplomatic relations between the UAE and Kuwait. The ministry cited Article 4 of the Law No. 30/1970 concerning the state’s foreign security crimes. The law stipulates that anybody found contravening the law shall be liable to a minimum of three years in prison.

By Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Seyassah Staff

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