Arab News

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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