Wednesday , October 18 2017

Legislator tracks ‘suspect’ deposits

KUWAIT CITY, March 4: MP Riyadh Al- Adsani has published contents of the multimillion deposits case, stressing the need for the government to explain the legislative lapses in previous years which prompted him to present a draft bill on addressing these lapses.

He said he has forwarded questions to Minister of Justice and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Dr Faleh Al-Azeb to know reasons behind the delayed submission of amendments to certain laws aimed at addressing the legislative lapses.

He pointed out these amendments were on the verge of completion in 2014 and they would have been utilized in handling certain cases like the multimillion deposits, ill-gotten wealth and conflict of interest. He cited as an example the proposal to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Law to include stipulations on financial disclosure and ill-gotten wealth. Following are the pending complaints:

■ Cash deposits in different banks within less than seven months totaling KD 4 million

■ Cash deposits into suspicious bank accounts within less than nine months totaling KD 3,700,000

■ Cash deposits of unexpected and recurring payments within eight months totaling KD 4 million

■ Cash deposits within a period not exceeding 10 months totaling KD 700,000

■ Cash deposits of unexpected and recurring payments within eight months totaling KD 660,000

■ Cash deposits into suspicious accounts within less than seven months totaling KD 6,300,000

■ Cash deposits into suspicious accounts within less than seven months totaling KD 700,000

■ Cash deposits of unexpected and recurring payments within seven months totaling KD 4,700,000 These cash deposits do not match the income of account holders who failed to present the necessary documentation to justify such transactions; thereby, raising suspicion of non-compliance with Anti-Money Laundering Law No. 35/2002 and the Central Bank of Kuwait’s (CBK) instructions in this regard.

This is in addition to issues related to inventory of public funds which include the following amounts: KD 3 million, KD 4 million, KD 3.7 million, KD 7 million, KD 3 million, KD 1 million, KD 9.7 million and KD 1,540,000. During investigation, one of those implicated in the case admitted receiving money from members of the government while another said he owns a business and he is into buying and selling real estate properties but the competent authorities asserted his commercial activities do not justify the amount of cash deposits.

The accused enumerated various sources of cash deposits like scholarship, overseas treatment and other privileges; financial grants in the form of humanitarian aid; and fees for consultations, business, contracts with subcontractors and others. Meanwhile, MP Rakan Al-Nisf considers the resignation of Health Ministry Undersecretary Dr Khalid Al-Sahlawi the beginning of treating “diseases” in the ministry’s body. He claimed the undersecretary was the main party in the irregularities in the ministry, asserting the legislative and judicial authorities have yet to confront many other parties. He said the corruption file in the ministry is one of the most serious issues in government agencies considering the involvement of several internal and external parties.

He revealed many of these issues were highlighted in his grilling of the former health minister during the tenure of the dissolved Parliament. He then called on the legislature to conduct a thorough investigation on these issues and others matters which may have surfaced since then. He said the public funds stolen from the ministry must be recovered through legal channels and all those behind such anomalies should be held accountable.

He added that support for Health Minister Dr Jamal Al-Harbi should be based on his next steps, especially in terms of holding liable all those proven to be involved in unscrupulous acts. Commenting on the same issue, MP Mohamed Al-Dalal said the minister’s grilling and resignation of the undersecretary are significant steps towards reform but more measures must be taken such as thorough parliamentary investigation.

MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei asserted the resignation of senior ministry officials is not enough, because accountability and restoration of stolen public funds are important as well. He added the financial irregularities in the ministry are estimated at billions of Kuwaiti dinars. Furthermore, Al-Tabtabaei believes that March 7, 2017 will be a decisive day for possible cooperation with the government. On his Twitter account, he said cooperation will be measured according to the number of files including prices of fuel and electricity, naturalization and amnesty.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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