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Wednesday , June 16 2021

The epic of Al-Surrah villa

The interest of Human Friendship Society in obtaining a temporary headquarters began at an early stage, thanks to Dr. Farida Al-Habib, when she was the secretary-general of the society and sought state property for that purpose.

After that, I completed the endeavors and after hardship, visits, correspondence and the intervention of ministers and undersecretaries, a villa of state property was allocated for the use of the Society and we signed a usufruct contract after the consultant engineer of the Society examined it and made sure of the suitability of its structure in all respects for use.

Then, for months, we sought to connect electricity and water to the villa, regain all its lost files and pay fees for cable and meters and other high expenses. We put forth a project for its restoration through a tender awarded to a well-known company but the contractor and the consultant engineer found out the necessity of re-opening the back door of the villa located on a large yard belonged to the state property for the purpose of temporary storage and parking for the Society’s cars, but the neighbor of that space objected to the project to open the back door, arguing that the land was designated for him as a garden.

Because of our insistence on our position, the neighbor of that land assigned a lawyer to stop the restoration work and withdrew the villa from us and sent several warnings to the Municipality, state property and to the Society but our legal advisor confirmed the integrity of our position and asked us not to give the warning any importance.

After too many visits to the Ministry of Finance in order to obtain a license to start restoration work, as requested by the Municipality, we were informed in writing of the decision to cancel the villa rental contract under the pretext that the Kuwait Municipality objected to the validity of the villa for use and this contradicts the truth, the consultant engineer’s report and all engineering examinations of the building.

It would have been better if the state property had informed us of that from day one, not to sign a contract to give the villa to us, and obligating us to pay the annual rent for it, and to spend other large sums of money that would have been disbursed for the needy.

The Human Friendship Society is an extraordinary charity association as it does not deduct any percentages from the donations it receives for the benefit of those in charge of it, and this of course does not suit some people, and perhaps was a reason for revenge which led to the cancellation of the contract.

The Minister of Finance may be behind this arbitrary decision though I was promised that the matter would be settled in our interest, and that the relevant committee would meet and approve that and after giving us promises week after week the matter ended with the cancellation of the contract without a real or convincing reason.

The issue is not personal and did not harm the board of directors. Rather, it will harm those dependent on the aid of the Society which will have to pay tens of thousands of dinars annually in rents from funds allocated for charity work at a time when there is a villa in the state that has not been used for more than twenty years.

The decision was issued arbitrarily and without justification, and therefore we appeal to His Highness the Prime Minister to intervene to redress the charity society from the injustice it has suffered just because it is distinguished in its work.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf

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