MCCI chair­man de­cries ‘ouster’


Talal Mirza, chair­man of the Makkah Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (MCCI), has re­futed the le­gal­ity of mem­bers vot­ing to oust him and elect Maher Ja­mal as the new head of the cham­ber at the sec­ond MCCI board meet­ing.

Mirza has come out to con­test al­le­ga­tions that he is no longer chair­man of the MCCI at a time when the cit­i­zens of the holy city are still reel­ing about the news.

Just two weeks af­ter be­ing elected chair­man of the MCCI, Mirza was ex­pelled from his po­si­tion in a 12-to-2 vote made against him at the board meet­ing last Satur­day and has sub­mit­ted the min­utes of their meet­ing to the Min­is­ter of Com­merce.

Ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal daily, a mem­ber of the newly elected MCCI board de­cided to oust the new chair­man and his two deputies dur­ing the meet­ing af­ter their de­mands to re­form the cham­ber’s com­mit­tees were re­buffed by the chair­man.

Of­fi­cial sources said Mirza dis­re­garded the mem­ber’s re­quest and con­tin­ued to dis­cuss the meet­ing’s agenda. How­ever, 12 of the 18 board mem­bers agreed with the de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the need to re­form the cham­ber’s coun­cil and voted to ex­pel Mirza, which prompted him to with­draw from the meet­ing, fol­lowed by his deputies Mazen Tounsi and Ziad Farsi, in ad­di­tion to the de­par­ture of a fourth board mem­ber.

Sources at­tribute the rea­sons be­hind the in­ci­dent to the board mem­bers’ iso­la­tion from the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

Af­ter the chair­man and his two deputies with­drew from the meet­ing, the re­main­ing 14 mem­bers re­sumed the meet­ing, ap­point­ing Maher Ja­mal as the new pres­i­dent of the board of di­rec­tors and Ehab Mashat and Mo­hammed Ab­dul Sa­mad Al-Qurashi as his deputies. They also chose to keep Mar­wan Sha­ban as the MCCI rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Coun­cil of the Saudi Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try.

Mean­while, a le­gal ad­viser ex­plained that the pro­ceed­ings at the Makkah Cham­ber are in vi­o­la­tion of the law gov­ern­ing the Coun­cil of Com­merce Cham­bers and the reg­u­la­tions of the Min­istry of Com­merce.

For his part, Mirza pointed out that the 2nd meet­ing agenda for the board mem­bers of the MCCI did not in­clude a re-vote item and that no min­is­te­rial su­per­vi­sory com­mit­tee was present at the time.

“I am still the chair­man. I left the meet­ing ahead of the dis­cus­sions, as I had travel ar­range­ments to at­tend to,” he said, adding that he placed his trust in the coun­try’s lead­er­ship to de­cide on the mat­ter.

Ma­jed Garoub, a lawyer and the vice pres­i­dent of Arab Cham­ber of Con­cil­i­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion, de­scribed the event as a “coup.” He called on the busi­ness com­mu­nity to rise above such ac­tions and as­sume the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties they are tasked with as elected or ap­point­ment pub­lic fig­ures.

Garoub called on the Min­istry of Com­merce to re­view the sta­tus and con­di­tions of the Saudi cham­bers, as well as their by­laws for mem­ber­ships, vot­ing pro­ce­dures and the con­duct of busi­ness af­fairs, em­pha­siz­ing that there should be no room for loop­holes and ma­nip­u­la­tions of the sys­tem. He also urged the Min­is­ter of Com­merce to in­ter­vene in or­der to re­solve the is­sue.

“The chair­man should not be re­moved fol­low­ing the vot­ing process un­less he vol­un­tar­ily chooses to step down from his po­si­tion,” he stressed.

Mirza has come out to con­test al­le­ga­tions that he is no longer chair­man of the MCCI at a time when the cit­i­zens of the holy city are still reel­ing about the news.

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