KUWAIT CITY, Sept 30: Steps taken to address the visa trading issue are not enough to restrain the ambitions of those engaged in this illegal activity, says MP Saud Aharija.
Aharija made the statement after receiving the responses of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid to his questions about the companies accused of trading in visas and the level of coordination between the ministries of Interior, Social Affairs and Labor in solving the problem.
While praising the minister for quickly responding to his queries, the lawmaker wondered why the concerned authorities have yet to address the problem which started 11 years ago. He said there have been reports that the investigation and referral of visa traders to the Public Prosecution are biased considering only 336 out of 1,368 bogus companies were referred to the prosecution so he asked the minister to clarify this.
He said the minister has confirmed that the ministries of Interior, Social Affairs and Labor have coordinated their efforts to combat visa trading. He added the minister unveiled plans to intensify search and investigation of bogus companies; so if proven that these companies do not exist and their owners are trading in visas, the ministry will refer them to the prosecution, file cases and impose security restrictions on these companies.
On another issue, MP Askar Al- Enezi has called on Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Bader Al-Essa to allow the children and grandchildren of Bedoun military personnel, whose security cards have expired and are in the process of renewal, to enroll in public schools. He pointed out the school year has begun and the future of these children is in the hands of the minister since the Central System for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR) caused the delay in the renewal of security cards.
Meanwhile, MP Sadoun Al-Otaibi said he repeatedly warned Minister of Public Works, Electricity and Water Ahmed Al-Jassaar on the mismanagement and financial violations in every sector of his ministry – from tenders to project execution. He added he also asked the minister to look into the alleged violations in the new Kuwait International Airport terminal project but no action was taken despite the availability of proof.
He stressed the airport project, 2007 emergency electricity plan and numerous other issues show that the minister is incapable and negligent. He disclosed he submitted a report to the Anti-Corruption Public Authority and State Audit Bureau for them to stop the airport terminal project whose estimated cost is KD 600 million, higher than the 2007 emergency electricity plan. In another development, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi submitted 38 queries to Health Minister Dr Ali Al-Obaid. He asked about the violations in Kuwait Institute of Medical Specialization, lack of medical manpower in the ministry, and ways to address the manpower shortage considering the expansion of hospitals and clinics. He also inquired about cameras installed in ambulances as he considers this a violation of the doctor-patient confidentiality code and medical associations in which the membership fees are deducted from the salaries of members.
Al-Seyassah adds: As per bylaws, the National Assembly has decided to take legal measures against MP Abdulhameed Dashti for his statements which are deemed offensive to Kuwait’s security systems. The lawmaker accuses the security systems of violating human rights and torturing the suspects of ‘Al-Abdally Cell’ and coercing them to acknowledge the accusations leveled against them. Sources were quoted as saying a number of lawmakers have agreed to wait for HH Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak to return to the country, and then alternative measures will be taken against the MP Dashti instead of the parliamentary action. They added the parliamentary procedures are restricted by the internal bylaws.
As a result, the parliament has no control over the lawmaker for his statements, although the bylaws do not prevent the search for a mechanism to keep lawmakers that misrepresent the State of Kuwait from attending official parliamentary conferences and missions overseas. They noted the procedures may deprive erring lawmakers from participating in the parliamentary friendship delegation or committees inside the parliament. They further stated the lawmakers will ask HH the Prime Minister to file petitions against Dashti and any other person abusing the authorities, adding the government has asked for all evidences disproving the accusations launched against the concerned security system by MP Dashti regarding Al-Abdally Cell, particularly after Forensics proved that the suspects were not tortured while in detention.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff