Re­sign or face grilling, MP Saleh urges Oil min­is­ter

Court up­holds 3-year term for anti-unity tweets

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By a Staff Reporter

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.

Oil Min­is­ter Ali Al-Omair

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