KUWAIT: Opposition lawmaker Riyadh Al-Adasani yesterday carried out his threat and filed a grilling against Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Adel Al-Khorafi over allegations of flagrant violations and illegal appointments. Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said he received the grilling, which has been placed on the agenda of the first session of the National Assembly’s next term on Oct 30. Adasani’s grilling marks the start of what is expected to be a highly tense Assembly term after several MPs have already threatened to grill the prime minister and the ministers of commerce and industry, oil, social affairs and labor and others over a variety of issues.
Adasani alleged that Khorafi has committed constitutional violations, irresponsible practices and flagrant violations and wrongdoings, in addition to breaching the laws, and practiced what he called a policy of conflict of interests that promoted corruption and squandering of public funds. He accused the minister of making illegal appointments from outside the ministry in what appears to be a policy of appeasement that violated the law and squandered public funds. He said that he has “solid evidence” that by doing so, the minister has promoted corruption, chaos and conflict of interests, adding that the appointments made in August are a clear proof of the allegations.
Adasani accused the minister of violating budget guidelines, thus harming public interests and of transferring funds between various provisions of the budget in violation of the law. In addition, he accused the minister of failing to perform his duties specified in the law, especially in promoting cooperation between the National Assembly and the government, adding that relations between the two bodies have instead worsened.
This will be the second grilling by Adasani against Khorafi this year. In the first grilling debated several months ago, the lawmaker made almost similar accusations against Khorafi, who refuted the allegations. The grilling ended without a vote of no-confidence. Adasani had already urged the minister to step down and called on the prime minister to dismiss him from the Cabinet, saying his appointment was “illegal”.
The grilling could be debated in the first session of the new term on Oct 30, but can be delayed for two more weeks. If one or more grillings are submitted, they will be debated in the same session. The strained Assembly-government ties have sparked speculations that the Assembly might be dissolved in the next term. Opposition MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain called on those who spread rumors that the Assembly is likely to be dissolved to stop saying so, because this is not in their hands. He said he respects the powers enjoyed by HH the Amir to dissolve the Assembly.
Meanwhile, six lawmakers yesterday formed a coordination committee to garner support for issuing a general amnesty for jailed political prisoners and against revoking the membership of two opposition lawmakers after they were handed jail terms for storming the Assembly building in Nov 2011. The committee comprises of MPs Thamer Al-Suwait, Omar Al-Tabtabaei, Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Khaled Al-Otaibi, Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei and Babtain. Omar Al-Tabtabaei charged the Assembly is “hijacked” by some and said that demanding a general amnesty for the two MPs is a constitutional right.
The lawmakers want to press the Assembly to issue a public amnesty law for the benefit of the two MPs and also for halting any attempts to revoke the membership of Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jamaan Al-Harbash, who were handed harsh jail terms.
By B Izzak