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Hashem Questions Interior Minister Amid Crackdown – MP Khorafi questions airline deal, warns of Dow-like loss

KUWAIT: MP Safa Al-Hashem yesterday sent a series of questions to Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al- Humoud Al-Sabah about illegal expatriates who have been rounded up for violating residence rules, saying that security officers have arrested “thousands” of foreigners. The lawmaker asked the Interior Minister for the precise number of expatriates arrested up to date for not carrying a legal residence permit and what measures the ministry intends to take against those violators. She also inquired about who pays the air fare for the violators when they are deported and for how long the violators wait until they are sent back home. The lawmaker also asked about the identity of the Kuwaiti sponsors of the residence violators - whether they are individuals or companies and what measures will be taken against them. She inquired about the nationality of most of the illegals.

The Interior Ministry has been launching campaigns against expatriates staying illegally in the country alongside another campaign to apprehend traffic offenders. The campaigns are believed to have netted thousands of expatriates amid reports that deportation centers are overcrowded with foreigners waiting to be deported because the ministry cannot find seats on outgoing flights, particularly on Kuwait Airways. According to the Interior Ministry, more than 2,000 expats have been arrested and later deported in the past seven weeks for committing grave traffic offences like over speeding, running the red traffic light and using private cars to carry passengers. In addition, thousands others have been arrested for not having legal residence permits and a majority of those are expected to be deported.

The campaigns come amid reports that the Interior and Social Affairs and Labor ministries are expected to announce an amnesty for illegal expatriates who will be allowed to leave without preconditions. In a related development, the National Assembly legal and legislative committee yesterday decided to invite the Interior Minister to a meeting next Tuesday to discuss the grilling against him filed by MPs Youssef Al-Zalzalah and Hashem. Last week, the Assembly agreed overwhelmingly to refer the grilling to the committee to study if it contained elements that breach the constitution as the Interior Minister has told MPs. Head of the committee MP Maasouma Al-Mubarak said the committee will ask the minister about the memorandum he said he will send to the committee to prove that the grilling is unconstitutional. Mubarak also said the committee will meet with the two MPs on June 16, to hear their views on the issue and will complete its report before the one-month period given by the Assembly.

In another development, MP Adel Al-Khorafi has sent a series of questions to Communications Minister Salem Al-Othaina about the deal that Kuwait Airways has announced recently for buying 25 Airbus aircraft and leasing another 22 aircraft. Khorafi said the value of the purchase deal is around $4 billion. Khorafi inquired from the minister about the final value of the deal with the price of each plane separately, and also demanded a copy of the contract. He also inquired about the first payment Kuwait Airways will make and if there is any penalty clause that the airline is required to pay in case it decided to scrap the contract in future for any reason. He also asked if the leased planes will be taken from Airbus. Khorafi wants to know names of the team that held the negotiations for the deal and inquired if Airbus has any local agent and if yes- what would be his commission. Khorafi also inquired if the state will finance the deal

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This article was published on 06/06/2013