Ashour, Sabeeh spar over closed charity society

Saleh Ashour and Hind Al-Sabeeh

KUWAIT: MP Saleh Ashour claimed yesterday that Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh misinformed the National Assembly in a grilling last week, but the minister immediately denied the claims. The lawmaker challenged the minister to prove that a Shiite charity society – Al-Thaqalain Charity – has received any loan as she claimed during the debate of the grilling filed against her by Ashour himself.

The charity, which has close links to Ashour, was recently dissolved by the minister for committing financial and administrative violations. Ashour had said that the minister accused the charity of receiving a loan worth KD 100,000, which constitutes a breach of the law. The loan was one of the reasons for dissolving the charity. Last week, Ashour said he will quit his Assembly seat if the minister can prove that the society took the loan.
The minister said yesterday that she did not say in the grilling that the charity took any bank loan and reiterated that what she said was that the society gave loans from donors’ money to individuals, which is a violation of the law. The minister told reporters that the head of the society was cautioned not to give such loans and he pledged to respect the law. But he later continued with such violations, she said.

Sabeeh wondered why there has been such an emphasis on the alleged loan issue while other flagrant violations supported by documented evidence have been sidelined. These violations include transferring funds through money exchange companies and not through banks as required and hiding the sources of donations and ways of spending it, the minister said. She said the law requires the society to spend raised funds on projects specified by the law and bans the societies from spending the money on projects not specified by the law. It also bans societies from entering into financial speculation.

Ashour however yesterday reiterated that the minister has misinformed the Assembly about the charity society by claiming it had taken a loan. He said he wants to know from where it took the loan. He urged MPs to shoulder their responsibility during a highly-anticipated Assembly session tomorrow. The Assembly is scheduled to vote tomorrow on two no-confidence motions against Oil Minister Bakheet Al-Rasheedi and Sabeeh. Each motion requires 25 votes to dismiss the minister.
Meanwhile, MP Khalil Abul asked National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem why the Audit Bureau, which comes under the speaker’s authority, increased the salaries of expatiate employees in the bureau. He said the hike comes amid a replacement policy that calls to replace expatriates with nationals, and also cut spending.

By B Izzak

Back to top button