Interior minister expected to survive no-confidence vote

The National Assembly.

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh is expected to survive a no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly today following a grilling last week in which he was accused of violating the law and benefiting from his post. Ten opposition lawmakers filed the motion after MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri charged that the minister’s company won more government contracts after he joined the Cabinet. The minister categorically denied the allegations. Votes of at least 25 elected MPs are needed to unseat the minister.

Following the grilling, Kuwait was rocked by a leak of sensitive videos allegedly taken in the offices of the secret service in 2018. The videos show top officials plotting to spy on people’s social media accounts. The government yesterday referred the entire case to the public prosecution for investigation. The interior minister has suspended the state security agency chief along with seven secret service officers pending the completion of investigations.

Meanwhile, Al-Rai newspaper, quoting unnamed interior ministry sources, has reported that the interior ministry may extend residencies and visit visas of expats for three more months from Sept 1. Kuwait Times spoke with interior ministry officials who could not confirm the information as of time of publication. The interior ministry had earlier extended residencies and visas until Aug 31 amid speculation that no further extensions will be made.

Opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair yesterday asked the interior minister if top former officials were involved in the so-called interior ministry’s hospitality scandal in which the criminal court last week sentenced a number of top officials to lengthy jail terms and fined them tens of millions of dinars.

Mutair asked the minister if the state security agency submitted a report to him showing that a number of top former officials and former ministers were involved in the scandal but were not among those who were tried in court. He asked the minister about the legal measures he adopted if he had received the report.

MP Riyadh Al-Adasani yesterday said the Cabinet has withdrawn the so-called economic document which proposed a series of measures to raise public charges on citizens and impose taxes on them. Adasani, who grilled the finance minister twice over the proposed measures, welcomed the Cabinet’s decision and its intention to restudy the economic conditions and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The lawmaker insisted that he will oppose any government plan if it is based on taxing citizens to raise government revenues.