KUWAIT CITY, Oct 12: The executive and legislative authorities must be held responsible for the wastage of public funds and corruption in the overseas treatment sector, MP Rakan Al-Nisf said Wednesday. The lawmaker was commenting on news published recently about the alleged disbursement of $745 million for overseas treatment without approval of the Finance Ministry.
He claimed this happened due to the cowardice of the two authorities. He pointed out the astronomical figures mentioned in the correspondences between Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh and Health Minister Ali Al-Obeidi undermined efforts to implement economic reforms and financial policies. He stressed that talks on savings which come from increasing the prices of gasoline, electricity and water are nothing but lies that the government intends to use to settle political scores.
He attributed these price hikes to the failure of the government and MPs to combat corruption, particularly the so-called ‘medical tourism’. He added the government, which talks about saving almost a billion Kuwaiti dinars by reducing subsidies, has messed with another political compromise worth billions of Kuwaiti dinars. “Will these absurd developments lead to diversification of national income sources or support for small and medium enterprises SMEs?” he retorted.
He lamented the government defended its minister during interpellation without taking into consideration that this process led to the discovery of corruption in the Health Ministry, specifically the overseas treatment sector. He said the government did not rectify its mistakes as it opted to take more from the public funds and increase the number of people sent for overseas treatment just to buy the affection of politicians who always put electoral interests above national welfare.
“Today, the government can no longer cover up corruption as the expenses for medical tourism exceeded KD 30 billion. The responsibility now lies on the shoulder of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al- Sabah as it already went beyond the health minister, considering the premier has provided his minister with unprecedented protection from parliamentary accountability,” he added.
He went on to say that the premier must refer the health minister to the Ministerial Court since the Finance Ministry has exposed the truth behind the $745 million expenses for overseas treatment. He stressed this exorbitant figure serves as a challenge to ministers – either to win for their economic document by resigning in protest against this absurdity or stop talking about economic reforms and reducing or lifting subsidies. He explained the level of manipulation and excessive expenditures revealed by the Ministry of Finance could have been avoided if only the politicians set aside their electoral and personal interests. He said these politicians have opted to be partners of the government in misusing public money.
Meanwhile, MP Mohammad Tana praised the Cabinet for approving the executive regulations for the Anti-Corruption Authority Law in the first deliberation. He pointed out this authority is the main institution for combating corruption. On his supposed intention to grill the minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs over the delayed issuance of the executive regulations, Tana asserted every MP has the right to use this constitutional tool whenever the need arises
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff