Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair
Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair

KUWAIT: MP Khalil Al-Saleh yesterday called on Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair to step down or face questioning in the National Assembly over alleged violations in the Oil Ministry and the Agricultural Authority which comes under him. Saleh said the Oil Minister has no place in the cabinet and should quit after failing in the oil ministry and after sowing seeds of disputes and controversy there.

The lawmaker, who has threatened to grill the minister for over a month, said the minister has been committing errors at the Oil Ministry especially with the awarding process of the new refinery. He said that after the contracts were awarded and just before the signing ceremony, the minister said the signing will be delayed and then a few days later the signing took place. Saleh said the process involved some suspicions and accused the minister of creating crises in the largest economic ministry in the country.

MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan said that the minister’s answers on the Agricultural Authority would only aggravate his position if he faced grilling. The lawmaker said the minister failed to mention some names who apparently benefited from state-owned farms illegally. MP Ahmad Al-Qhudhaibi is another lawmaker who is preparing to grill the Oil Minister over violations in the Oil Ministry. Earlier reports said that Qhudhaibi may join Salem in questioning the minister but it now appears that the two will file separate grillings. Meanwhile, Omair declined to comment on the situation when asked in National Assembly yesterday. Coming out from a meeting with National Assembly speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem, the minister said there is nothing.

In another development, MP Jamal Al-Omar asked the Finance Minister yesterday about ways to finance the budget deficit and if the ministry has stopped payments to the Ministry of Electricity and Water and the pension establishment because of shortage of available funds. The lawmaker asked if the government has decided on the methods to finance the deficit and the share of each source in the process. He also inquired about the funds available at the State Reserve Fund and how much will be used to finance the deficit. Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh has said that the ministry was contemplating issuing bonds to raise the funds needed for the budget deficit.

Also, the Court of Cassation yesterday confirmed a three-year jail term against Islamist activist Mubarak Al-Bathali for anti-national unity remarks he made on his Twitter account. The court also fined him KD 10,000. The ruling is final and must be implemented.

In the meantime, MP Abdulhameed Dashti said yesterday that the parliamentary committee investigating the situation at Kuwait investment offices abroad needs three more months to complete its report.

By a Staff Reporter