KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah yesterday made a limited reshuffle to his Cabinet after four ministers resigned, including the oil minister, and their resignations were accepted by HH the Amir. An official statement said the Amir accepted the resignations of Minister of Oil and Electricity and Water Bakheet Al-Rasheedi, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh, Minister of Public Works Hossam Al-Roumi and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Adel Al-Khorafi.

All the resigned ministers were under the threat of being grilled by lawmakers over allegations of corruption and mismanagement. The prime minister appointed four new members to the Cabinet to replace the outgoing ministers and moved some portfolios to existing ministers.

The new ministers are: Minister of Oil, Electricity and Water Khaled Al-Fadhel, an academic and a newcomer to the political field; Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and State Minister for Municipality Fahd Al-Rasheedi, who is also a newcomer to the political field and hails from the Rasheedi tribe, one of the largest bedouin tribes in the country. Saad Al-Kharraz was appointed Minister of Social Affairs and Labor while Mariam Al-Aqeel was appointed Minister of State for Economic Affairs. All the members are newcomers to the Cabinet as well as to politics.

In addition, Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan was also given the services ministry and Minister of State for Housing Jenan Bushehri was given the public works portfolio, while Justice Minister Fahd Al-Afasi was given responsibility for the ministry of state for National Assembly affairs. The new changes will spare the prime minister threats by lawmakers to grill those ministers because all the resigned ministers have been threatened to be grilled by MPs.

Sabeeh, Khorafi and Rasheedi were all grilled – the first two more than once – while Roumi was under the threat of being questioned over his ministry’s failure to face heavy rains. A number of MPs gave a cautious welcome to the new ministers and reshuffled Cabinet, but they warned that they will continue to monitor the performance of the Cabinet.

MP Riyadh Al-Adasani welcomed removing some ministers but said that he will continue to see how the new ministers carry out their duties. MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei praised the prime minister for accepting the resignation of the oil minister and warned that the new oil minister has a big task ahead of him. Tabtabaei and MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain grilled Rasheedi in May over alleged squandering of public funds by top oil executives. The government formed an independent committee to probe the allegations and found some of them were true, the lawmaker said. Tabtabaei also warned the commerce minister that a senior official in the ministry was dealing with suspicious people and urged him to investigate.

By B Izzak