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Sheikh Mohammad faces ‘no-confidence’ – Voting on request slated for Nov 1

Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah on the grilling podium

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 24: Ten MPs have requested for a noconfidence vote against State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and acting Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah. This came after the National Assembly deliberated on the interpellation motion of MPs Riyadh Adsani and Abdul- Kareem Al-Kandari against the minister during the opening of the second session of the 15th legislative term on Tuesday.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim announced that the lawmakers who signed the no-confidence motion include Shuaib Al- Muwaizri, Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Mohammed Al-Mutairi, Abdullah Al-Roumi, Hamdan Al-Azmi, Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Thamer Al-Suwait, Riyadh Al- Adsani, Jaman Al-Harbash and Omar Al-Tabtabaei. Al-Ghanim said the Parliament would discuss the request seven days after its submission, in line with Article 102 of Constitution and Article 144 of the bylaw.

Voting on the request, he added, would take place on Nov 1. In the earlier part of the session, the Speaker told the Assembly that Adsani and Al- Kandari have presented an interpellation request against the minister. He explained the request, which was included in Tuesday’s agenda, will be discussed only if the minister is ready to stand on the grilling podium.

Commenting on the request, the minister affirmed that grilling is a right guaranteed by the Constitution; while the Constitutional Court underscored the need to correct the interpellation in order to serve public interest.

However, he said the interpellation has many flaws, including constitutional violations. “We are not in front of a traditional interpellation today. You could feel the magnitude of fear through the speech of His Highness the Amir. Therefore, all of us are required to achieve these lofty goals and ensure cooperation between the government and Assembly,” he added.

The presenters of the grilling motion questioned the minister on these issues: fees paid to Kuwait Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), financial and administrative irregularities in the ministries of Information and Cabinet Affairs, inappropriate employment of expatriates in the Fatwa and Legislation Department, non-compliance with the report of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) and financial supervisory body, violation of the regulations of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Central Tenders Committee (CTC), and wastage of public funds.

Responding to the queries, the minister asserted that a large part of the interpellation is based on the comments of SAB; indicating the law differentiates between observation and financial offenses. He asserted the comments are merely opinions, indicating that Article 33 of the Audit Court Law limits the functions of SAB to dealing with recorded violations and observations. He went on to say that he stood on the grilling podium although some views are considered constitutional violations which marred the interpellation. Al-Adsani and Al-Kandari said answers of Minister the Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, on their interpellation were irrelevant.

The two MPs said Sheikh Mohammad’s answers to their queries were irrelevant to the content of the grilling. Al-Kandari lambasted Sheikh Mohammad for failing to collect debts for the Information Ministry, and providing a late answer regarding the legal framework of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as sending Kuwaiti nationals to retirement without “justifications.” He also critizied the government’s failure to hire Kuwaitis in the public sector instead of expatriates. Al-Adsani said Sheikh Mohammad’s answers were “incomplete and unclear.” He said the violations of the Audit Bureau were against authorities under the jurisdiction of Sheikh Mohammad.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammad thanked the two MPs who interpellated him for not questioning his “financial integrity.” In his reaction to comments by MPs Riyadh Al-Adsani and Abdul- Kareem Al-Kandari, Sheikh Mohammad said the Audit Bureau registered one violation against the Legal Advice Department, but which would not amount to a penalty. He said the general statistical department confirmed that number of Kuwaitis in the public sectors grew by 3.3 percent. Kuwaitis wishing to join the public sector should register at the Civil Services Commission, he said, and those who failed the register would not be hired. Sheikh Mohammad said the Legal Advice Department was following more than 30,500 cases at courts.


By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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