Un­der-fire Omair moved to pub­lic works min­istry

Saleh named act­ing oil min­is­ter Nod to Arab anti-terror pact

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: The gov­ern­ment fi­nally car­ried out a lon­gawaited Cab­i­net reshuf­fle, mov­ing Ali Al-Omair out of the oil min­istry to the pub­lic works min­istry af­ter ac­cept­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Ah­mad Al-Jas­sar as min­is­ter of elec­tric­ity and wa­ter and pub­lic works two months af­ter sub­mis­sion. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Anas AlSaleh was ap­pointed act­ing oil min­is­ter while State Min­is­ter for Cab­i­net Af­fairs Sheikh Mo­ham­mad AlAb­dul­lah Al-Sabah was given the elec­tric­ity and wa­ter port­fo­lio on a tem­po­rary ba­sis.

MP Ab­dul­hameed Dashti said the lim­ited Cab­i­net re­arrange­ment is tem­po­rary and a pre­lude to a wider reshuf­fle af­ter three months. He gave no fur­ther de­tails over his pre­dic­tions. With the new moves, two prob­lems have been solved, though tem­po­rar­ily. Tomorrow’s sched­uled ques­tion­ing of Jas­sar over al­le­ga­tions of fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive vi­o­la­tions in award­ing the KD. 1.32 bil­lion con­tract for the air­port ex­pan­sion project will not take place be­cause the min­is­ter has quit.

The new pub­lic works min­is­ter is not obliged by law to ap­pear for the grilling. The grilling re­quest was filed by MP Saadoun Ham­mad, who claimed that around KD 600 mil­lion in pub­lic funds have been squan­dered. The sec­ond prob­lem to be re­solved is the dis­pute in the oil sec­tor be­tween Omair and top ex­ec­u­tives of sta­te­owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) and its sub­sidiaries.

Since his ap­point­ment in Jan 2014, Omair has been locked into sev­eral dis­putes with oil ex­ec­u­tives over the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of his pow­ers over KPC and oil com­pa­nies.

A de­ci­sion by him early in Novem­ber to swap the CEOs of two oil com­pa­nies trig­gered a row with the oil sec­tor af­ter KPC chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Nizar Al-Adasani and the two con­cerned CEOs openly re­jected the de­ci­sion and chal­lenged his author­ity. This prompted the Cab­i­net to take Omair away from the sen­si­tive oil sec­tor amid a re­ported com­pro­mise to also change the oil ex­ec­u­tives shortly.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the move, Omair was tar­geted as the new pub­lic works min­is­ter. Two MPs, Man­sour AlDhafiri and Ham­mad, warned Omair against al­low­ing the air­port ex­pan­sion con­tract to be signed with­out an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ham­mad said that Omair should ex­am­ine the award­ing process and other al­leged vi­o­la­tions, oth­er­wise he will re­sub­mit the grilling against the new min­is­ter. Dhafiri urged Omair not to al­low the con­tract to go ahead.

MPs Khalil Al-Saleh and Ah­mad Al-Qud­haibi, who had threat­ened to file to grill Omair as oil min­is­ter over a va­ri­ety of vi­o­la­tions, crit­i­cized Omair’s man­age­ment of the oil min­istry and called on the new min­is­ter to cor­rect the mis­takes. Saleh said the re­ported vi­o­la­tions have now moved un­der the author­ity of the new min­is­ter, who should take nec­es­sary le­gal ac­tions.

Qud­haibi said mov­ing Omair out of the oil min­istry has de­fused ten­sions with oil sec­tor ex­ec­u­tives and stopped the min­is­ter’s un­ac­cept­able in­ter­fer­ence in the sec­tor. He said he will con­tinue to fol­low up on the is­sues he raised when Omair was oil min­is­ter, es­pe­cially the vi­o­la­tions around the oil pipe­line con­tract.

Mean­while, rap­por­teur of the for­eign re­la­tions com­mit­tee MP Mo­ham­mad Tana said the com­mit­tee ap­proved the Arab anti-terror agree­ment but de­cided to de­lay the Gulf anti-terror pact un­til the for­eign min­istry sends de­tails on it. The com­mit­tee also ap­proved the Gulf anti-dump­ing agree­ment that will be de­bated by the As­sem­bly tomorrow. Also, the fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic af­fairs com­mit­tee ap­proved the amend­ment of 22 ar­ti­cles of the com­mer­cial agen­cies law. Rap­por­teur of the com­mit­tee MP Mo­ham­mad Al-Jabri said the amend­ments will help boost com­pe­ti­tion and pro­vide com­modi­ties to con­sumers in a bet­ter way.

Ali Al-Omair

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.