Monday , January 21 2019

MPs submit new bill to establish anti-graft body – Bid to fill vacuum

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 21: MPs Ouda Al- Ruweie, Sultan Al-Gusain, Talal Al-Jala, Faisal Al-Kandari and Abdul-Hameed Dashti presented a new bill on the establishment of the Anti- Corruption Authority. This came after the Constitutional Court declared the unconstitutionality of the existing Public Anti-Corruption Authority Law. In its ruling, the court clarified that the issuance of this decree was not done under circumstances which permit stipulation of such law, nor there was necessity that propelled the establishment of the anti-corruption agency in the absence of the Parliament.

In the explanatory note of the new bill, the MPs pointed out that the duties of the authority are: to combat and prevent corruption, address its causes, prosecute those involved in corrupt activities, and retrieve funds and revenues resulting from this illegal activity.

According to the MPs, the other functions of the authority include promoting the principle of cooperation; participation of the State, regional and international organizations in the fight against corruption; establishment of the principle of transparency and integrity in economic, financial and administrative transactions; activating the principle of equality; strengthening the supervisory role of the concerned institutions; protecting State institutions from manipulation, exploitation and abuse of power for personal benefits; preventing mediation and nepotism that abuse rights; and activating and promoting the role of institutions and civil society organizations in combating corruption.

Meanwhile, MP Ahmed Mutei Al- Azmi has criticized some of his colleagues for calling on the government to reduce the budget for developing the Kuwaiti Army and to merge the Ministry of Defense budget, which is KD 3 billion, with the general budget of the State. He said, “In light of the unstable regional situation surrounding the State of Kuwait and the threats against our security and stability; we must prepare for any emergency.

Defensive readiness is possible only through a strong army supported by the best defense equipment and machines to repel external or internal aggression and deter any attempt to undermine the country’s security and sovereignty.” Al-Mutei argued the financial deficit that struck Kuwait should not be an excuse to demand for reduction of the State’s military budget at the expense of national security and defense fortification. He pointed out this must be followed by several other steps but the budgets of the ministries of defense and interior should not be touched.

On another issue, MP Nabil Al-Fadel has presented queries to Minister of Health Ali Al-Obeidi and Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al- Sabeeh about the Patients Helping Fund. To the health minister, the MP said the he had earlier forwarded questions about the fund and based on the response, he wants the minister to answer the following:

■ You explained in your response that there was no contract between the fund and the Ministry of Health regarding the commercial activity in government hospitals in relation to the installation of POS in 157 locations. Kindly inform me when the fund engaged in this commercial activity.

■ What kind of assistance does the fund provide? Does this assistance require approval of ministries?

■ What is the estimated annual cost of this assistance?

■ Does the fund give cash to the patients or the assistance is limited to devices and equipment?

■ When was the headquarters of the fund established within the vicinity of Sabah Hospital? Was it under a contract with the ministry? How much is the total cost?

■ What is the total land area granted to the fund to invest for its benefit? To the Social Affairs and Labor Minister, the MP asserted the fund was established with the objective of helping patients in hospitals in Kuwait, so provide answers to the following:

■ When was the fund established? Who are the founding members and the current members of the Board of Directors?

■ Please provide me with a contract for establishing the fund.

■ What are the objectives of the fund and the services it provides?

■ How much are the fund’s revenues? What are its sources of income and expenses?

■ Please provide me with the audited annual budget of the fund for the last five fiscal years. Does the ministry carries out periodic auditing work for the fund’s revenues?

■ When was the last general assembly of the fund?

■ Did the fund provide the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor with copies of the contracts it concluded with the Ministry of Health for the development of investment sites owned by public hospitals?

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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