Uproar in Kuwait over alleged mysterious payments to two MPs

August 23, 2011
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Kuwaiti lawmakers are in uproar following a report by a local daily alleging that two MPs received two cash payments of 17 million Dinars ($62.215 million) and 8 million Dinars ($29.277 million) into their bank accounts from unknown sources.

The report, published on Saturday by Al Qabas and quoting anonymous sources, claimed that banks and regulation authorities were in disarray over the issue and that the amounts transferred to the MPs were most probably allocated to them for distribution to some of their colleagues as political settlements.

Al Qabas did not name the two MPs.

According to the Arab Times daily, lawmakers and political groups have called for the launch of a full and transparent investigation.

MP Faisal Al Muslim, from the opposition Development and Reform Bloc, warned that if the names of the 25 million Dinars recipients were not revealed, a motion to grill the prime minister would be filed and that the bloc would request an emergency session for September 11.

Social networking sites charged that MPs Mikhled Al Azmi and Askar Al Enezi were implicated in the transaction, but both lawmakers denied any involvement in the case.

Al Azmi said that he was aware of those who were seeking to harm his reputation and challenged his accusers to provide evidence of his foul play to the Public Prosecution. The MP said he supported the call for an emergency session.

Al Enezi said he planned to forward questions to the minister of finance to clear his name.

Parliament Speaker Jassem Al Khorafi expressed regret “over the lack of transparency in the news report”, saying that its publication without the names of the MPs meant that the whole parliament was under suspicion.

“I was also pained by the reactions to the report through the various media outlets that have made Kuwait seem as a haven of corruption,” the speaker told the media.

Al Khorafi hoped the concerned authorities would hasten to clarify the details surrounding the case to put an end to rumors, and insisted that people are innocent until proven guilty.

The speaker said that he failed to obtain more details on the case and that Al Qabas editor in chief told him that he was waiting for reports from the concerned authorities and that he would not publish names or further information before ascertaining the facts.

People should avoid descending into rumors without evidence and can instead turn to justice if they have proof.

“Unfortunately I cannot protect my colleagues from these rumors,” he said, quoted by Arab Times.

According to the daily, sources said that the legislative authority is planning its own investigation either by forwarding questions to the concerned ministers or by forming an investigative committee.

MPs Adel Al Saraawi and Ahmed Al Saadoun began the inquiry by forwarding questions to the Minister of Finance, Mustafa Al Shamalli, asking him on the procedures being undertaken to investigate the case.

MP Marzouk Al Ghanim said the government and the National Assembly must undertake their responsibilities and investigate the moral and legal crime. He said that the National Action Bloc welcomes any initiatives by the legislative authority on this issue.

“If the reports are not true the government should still investigate the persons responsible for the accusations of bribery and money laundering,” Al Ghanim said.

Al Siyassah daily, quoting “highly reliable” sources said that the public prosecution would soon launch investigations into the alleged transfer of KD 25 million into the bank accounts of two MPs.

The investigations are also likely to dig into several cases of political money.

The sources said the money transferred into the account of the two MPs and some people close to them were made through transactions from outside the country.

According to the daily, the news about the transfer of money was leaked to the press by a banker who did not want to get involved in the legal tangle and wished to avoid administrative problems.

Under the Central Bank of Kuwait regulations, amounts exceeding KD 3,000 cannot be deposited in an account unless the bank knows their source.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/uproar-in-kuwait-over-payments-1.855502

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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