Govt petitions panel acquits local firms over rain damage

Lawmaker calls for doubling pension payments

KUWAIT: A Cabinet panel that reviews petitions by firms involved in disputes over government contacts yesterday acquitted several local companies that were suspended by the public works ministry over contractual flaws in rain-hit projects. The companies were suspended by the minister of public works on charges that they were responsible for damage caused by the heavy rains last November. These companies were involved in road and construction projects in several residential areas that were hit hard by flooding.

The petitions panels said the suspension of the companies was based on “general” accusations that were not substantiated by evidence, adding that some government departments should take responsibility for the extensive damage. It added that after evaluating defense arguments presented by the companies, the committee ruled that judicial investigations must be initiated before charging the companies.

Government spokesman and information ministry undersecretary said the committee also decided that no contracts will be awarded to companies that haven’t executed a project or executed projects with flaws before such problems are first resolved. Head of the Anti-Corruption Authority Abdulrahman Al-Namesh said that the authority will refer some officials to court over cases related to loose gravel and damage caused by rains. He provided no details.

Meanwhile, MP Saleh Ashour yesterday submitted a draft law calling to raise the minimum pension for retired people to KD 1,200 from the current KD 650 monthly. The lawmaker said the proposed pension is needed to allow retired people to cope with the rising cost of living. Earlier this week, five MPs proposed that annual increases to pension should be raised from KD 30 to KD 60 per month and should be reviewed every five years.

By B Izzak

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