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Need to set facts right

Ahmad Al-Sarraf

I consider brother Hamza Abbas Hussein a master and a decent man. He had mastered the art of banking and was secretary of the monetary council. When I was learning the basics of banking he became the first governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait. This honorable personality has a clean history.

Hamza has written an article for the Al-Qabas daily. Those who have read the article have been hurt not only because of the deliberate distortion of his professional history but because this distortion has damaged a part of Kuwait’s history.

He said he deliberately did not attend the opening ceremony of the new Central Bank premises because he owes respect for the institution — the institution that he had the honor of being part of its establishment.

Those who undertook to write the history of the establishment of the first Central Bank in Kuwait should have been objective through accurate and honest ‘reporting’ particularly concerning the roles played by those who contributed to its establishment and given credit to the individual contribution instead of the individuals because of their name.

Hamza pointed out he was not given the due treatment when he attended the ceremony which was held in honor of the former governor of the bank, Sheikh Salem Abdul Aziz Al-Sabah following his resignation, although Hamza was the first Governor of the bank and one of its founders. He said this did not sadden him at that time but later it was discovered that there was a reason for what happened then.

He says he heard the current Governor of the Central Bank saying during an official meeting in the presence of senior state officials that Hamza and Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah are the founders of the Central Bank of Kuwait but he preferred not to comment on what was said, especially that his book ‘Advised you’ will be soon released. In the book everyone can read who was responsible for founding the bank.

Hamza continued saying there is no doubt that the publications that were issued on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the new headquarters of the bank have shown that there is someone who wants to change the history of the Central Bank and obscure five years of his effort during the most difficult stage — the time when the bank was being founded.

Hamza said he was the secretary of the Monetary Council from 1963 to 1968 and was Deputy Governor of the Central Bank (though there was no governor) from 1968 to 1973 and the Kuwaiti dinar bore his signature. All this is a well-known part of history.

He added, he, personally with the participation of Arab and foreign experts, laid down the Bank’s rules and regulations, organization and staff structure and, most importantly the basics for the Bank’s mission, the values and defending it, all of which were ignored, perhaps deliberately.

Hamza thinks he does not lose much from staying away from the opening ceremony of the bank’s headquarters or the icon (as they called it), wondering if wasting money on a ‘heap’ of concrete creates a ‘symbol or icon’.

It is clear from Hamza’s article that he blames the current Governor of the Bank for his role in distorting his history and giving credit for the establishment of the Central Bank, or participating in it, to Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah, the former Governor of the Bank.

Hamza was Governor of the bank from 1973 to 1983. He was succeeded by Abdul Wahhab Al-Tammar until 1986 and then by Sheikh Salem, who remained in office until 2012.

It is a well-known fact that Sheikh Salem began work at the Central Bank in 1977 and became Governor nine years after its foundation. How come he is considered one of its founders?

Based on my simple knowledge of Sheikh Salem Al-Abdulaziz, I do not think he has a role in this deliberate distortion of the history of Hamza Abbas or the history of the Central Bank.

I hope that he personally removes this confusion and returns the right to its owner who is much above than being involved in such trivial issues.

email: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf




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