Disgruntled lawmakers threaten to grill premier, other ministers

KUWAIT: In a surprising move, Islamist opposition MPs Mohammad Hayef and Mohammad Al- Mutair yesterday filed to grill Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh over alleged financial and administrative violations amid a flurry of warnings to grill the prime minister and other ministers by disgruntled lawmakers.

The two lawmakers had not made any indication that they were planning to grill Saleh who is one of the most senior ministers in the cabinet and his ministry is responsible for a number of key state institutions. During the assembly session on Wednesday, MP Abdulkarim Al-Kundari said he was going to grill Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak Al-Sabah over the government failures, while MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said he planned to file to grill Information Minister Mohammad Al-Jabri over alleged violations and corruption.

Newcomer MP Bader Al-Mulla said he will file to grill Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf in early June while Hayef himself had threatened to grill Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah over mistreatment of ‘bedoons’ or stateless people and other alleged violations. The flurry of threats to grill the premier and several ministers has raised concern about the fate of the national assembly and the possibility of dissolution.

Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem however insisted on Wednesday the assembly will not be dissolved and will complete its term. The grilling accuses the minister of responsibility for alleged wide-spread corruption in several state departments which threatens their reputation and their very existence. They charged that the government has done little to curb the spread of corruption and adopted wrong policies in this regard to the extent that the structures of state institutions have become highly sluggish.

The two lawmakers also charged in the grilling that the minister has violated the law in admitting Kuwaiti lawyers at the Fatwa and Legislative Department, the state legal department under the minister’s authority, and made lots of exceptions which resulted in unfair treatment to many Kuwaiti job seekers. According to the grilling, the minister stands accused of squandering public funds and encouraging corruption as a result of the Central Agency for Public Tenders, which is responsible for awarding state projects, awarding state contracts to a small number of contractors who did not fulfill conditions which resulted in wasting public funds. The grilling will be listed on the agenda of next assembly session on April 30 but its debate could be delayed for two more weeks

By B Izzak