Owner blames ex-partner of poisoning food ‘as revenge’

KUWAIT: Test results on samples taken from a Hawally restaurant where nearly 300 customers were recently hospitalized with food poisoning came positive for contamination with salmonella and other types of bacteria, said sources familiar with the results.

The Public Authority for Food and Nutrition (PAFN) had received samples of the food served by the popular falafel joint, and tests revealed traces of salmonella and other bacteria which makes the food completely inedible, the sources noted.

Other sources said meanwhile that the owner, who is currently detained with his staff members pending investigations, accused his former partner, a Syrian man, of conspiring with one of the restaurant’s staff members, and had him contaminate the falafel, which resulted in poisoning a large number of customers. The sources added that the former partner would be summoned for interrogation as well.

On a related concern, PAFN urged Kuwait Municipality to hand over authority of the main food lab to it, said the capital food and nutrition department’s manager Abdul Rahman Al-Fares. He noted that food inspectors are incapable of detecting food contamination by virtual inspection, adding that samples have to be collected and examined in labs, which would enable routine inspection rounds to examine food and prevent any further poisoning cases.

Govt debt
The government paid off KD 650 million as part of its KD 6.97 billion general debt, as per the end of March 2018, said informed sources, noting that the debts were in the form of bonds due for local banks. The sources explained that KD 200 were paid in April, KD 150 in May, KD 200 in June and KD 100 on July 4.

Following the payments, the state’s general debt drops by 9 percent, the sources explained, adding that further KD 550 million of the debt would be due by the end of the year. Furthermore, financial sources stressed that the debt is primarily paid from the state’s general reserve, which have been decreasing gradually after the government failed to convince the parliament to pass a law allowing it obtain new loans.

Staff promotion
The chairman of the Public Anticorruption Authority denied that the board of trustees issued any decisions to ban authority employees from being promoted to directors, Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Dr Fahad Al-Afasi said. He added that the board of trustees set both general and special conditions for some vacant positions in the authority’s organizational structure.
On a different concern, Afasi said that the total cost of preparing the authority’s current headquarters reaches KD 6,342,000, adding that once the authority moves to its new building, the finance ministry would offer the current building for privatization.

Summer break
Various secondary stage school administrations officially concluded their school year yesterday and started a summer vacation that runs through September 2, 2018. This year’s 52-day summer break for high school staff is considered the least compared to other educational stages. In this regard, education ministry sources said that secondary stage schools had exerted relentless efforts this year, adding that the summer vacation offers an opportunity to reconsider the success of primary stage pupils and help prepare them for further stages, with hopes of eventually helping limit complaints made about the outcomes of the educational process.

Free gas production
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) CEO Jamal Jaafar stressed that free gas production would reach 500 million cubic feet per day by the end of this fiscal year, while light crude oil’s daily production would reach 200,000 barrels.
Jaafar added that KOC’s strategic goal is to increase gas production’s capacity to one billion cubic feet a day, and light crude oil to 275,000 barrels a day by 2022-2023. He also stressed that KOC is keen on developing its free gas and light oil production’s capabilities, which are the base of its strategy for 2040. Further, Jaafar said that discovering free gas and light crude oil came within KOC’s constant work to find alternatives to the use of crude oil and its derivatives in generating electricity. He added that KOC always works on turning strategic goals into well-studied working plans.

Construction material
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry decided to citizens subsidized construction material to citizens for only once in their lifetimes, even if a citizen obtains more than one construction loan. In this regard, informed sources said that unless a citizen had received full subsidies when applying to build his first house, the concerned committee agreed that he would have the right to complete his share by a maximum of KD 30,000. “70 percent of the subsidies paid by the government in general goes to subsidized food stuff goods, while the balance goes to subsidized construction material paid to citizens who receive housing loans,” explained the sources, noting that the parliament had rejected a proposal to increase housing loans to KD 100,000.

Passports centers
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah stressed that he had instructed his new undersecretary to open by next week six new centers to deliver new Kuwaiti passports, in addition to the six that already exist. The old centers would be allocated to submit applications, while the new ones would be used to deliver the passports, he added. Speaking during a reception that the Ministry of Interior (MOI) held yesterday to welcome its new undersecretary Lt Gen Essam Al-Nahham, Jarrah said that the new centers would enhance the delivery of new passports. Further, Jarrah announced that new assistant undersecretaries, directors and assistant directors would be appointed in various MOI sectors within a month.

By A Saleh