Anti-corruption body starts probe of helicopters deal


MP Mohammad Hayef

KUWAIT: Islamist opposition MP Mohammad Hayef warned he would grill Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah if he starts to admit women for military service as has been announced earlier this week.
Hayef said that the identity of the Kuwaiti society is a “red line” and stressed he will not accept plans to “Westernize” the society. He said that the place of women is not in the army or other military services. He said that women have been allowed into some military service in the interior ministry at certain departments only in order to search women or organize places visited by women.

Sheikh Nasser said earlier this week that he was open to accept women in the defense ministry like in the interior ministry and the national guard. But the minister insisted that there has been no official discussion on the issue in the assembly committees.

Head of the assembly interior and defense committee MP Askar Al-Enezi said a few days ago that the panel did not discuss the issue and expressed his rejection of any plan like that. Islamist and conservative lawmakers strongly oppose the mixing of the sexes especially in the military.

In the meantime, the Public Anti-Corruption Authority said yesterday that it has begun a probe into a military agreement with France to purchase about 30 Caracal helicopters for over $1 billion. MPs have raised the issue recently and the prime minister ordered that the whole deal be referred to the authority, the public prosecution and the Audit Bureau for an investigation. The issue was raised after press reports said that a Kuwaiti middleman in the deal demanded commissions worth over 60 million euros from the manufacturing company which refused.

By B Izzak