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Kuwaitization of consultants at the Municipality a success, nears 100%

By B Izzak & KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwaitization covering consultants at the legal department of Kuwait Municipality will hit 100 percent in less than a year, Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Abdulaziz Al-Mojel said on Tuesday. The minister, speaking during a parliamentary session, revealed the number of advisors at the Municipality reached 127, in addition to three expatriates, adding the contracts of the foreigners will expire in less than a year.

The National Assembly, during its Tuesday’s regular session, approved a number of submitted proposals, including a request that the committee for protecting public funds prepare a detailed report about alleged embezzlements at the Public Institution for Social Security. MP Abdullah Al-Mudhaf also asked the committee for protecting public funds to discuss contradictions of edicts and legislations regarding public funds issues.

Another proposal addressed to the health affairs commission asked to probe purported failure to enforce the laws and alleged mismanagement at the department of food and nutrition. MP Adel Al-Damkhi, head of the budgets and final account committee, requested the commission probe rules for oil and gas exploration, production and marketing. MPs approved a proposal by MP Khalil Al-Saleh, the chairperson of the women’s affairs committee, requesting examination of Kuwaiti women’s rights, namely with respect of housing and employment.

Amani Bugammaz

Other requests dealt with failure to raise payments for holders of master’s and PhD degrees and abstention from promoting diploma holders. Moreover, the parliament agreed to a letter from MP Jenan Boushehri to task the legislative affairs committee to probe failure in proceeding with challenges at the court of cassation.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Works and Electricity and Water Amani Bugammaz on Tuesday survived the first grilling in the new National Assembly after denying charges she wasted millions of dinars in public funds in favor of a foreign company she worked for as a consultant before she became a minister. Following the debate of the grilling, six MPs signed a no-confidence motion, but was not filed, as it needed four more lawmakers to be submitted. No recommendations were also filed.

Hamdan Al-Azmi

The griller, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi, had accused the minister of violating conflict of interests rules by favoring a company executing the new airport project and exempting it of delay fines totaling more than KD 100 million. Azmi said the minister worked as a consultant for the company before she was appointed minister of public works, overseeing the same company.

The lawmaker also charged that the minister appointed a close accomplice as the undersecretary of the ministry, who also worked with the Turkish company, saying she overlooked several senior officials who worked in the ministry with extensive experience, more than the new undersecretary. Azmi said the minister allowed the company to use material different from that specified in the contract in some parts of the airport project, costing public funds some KD 27 million. He also demanded that an investigation should be launched in the minister’s decisions and measures taken in the past.

But the minister refuted the charges. Although she acknowledged she worked as a consultant for the company, she was assigned by Kuwait University, where she worked as a professor of engineering, adding she had quit the job more than two years before her appointment in the Cabinet. Bugammaz said the charges made by the lawmaker about financial violations are extremely serious and totally untrue, adding she complied with the regulations and measures in the appointment of senior officials. The minister denied she caused any damage to public funds or the state’s interests.

Speaking in support of the grilling, MP Marzouq Al-Hubaini said the minister passed this grilling mainly out of cooperation with the government, but warned that “eyes will remain open at her decisions and actions in the ministry”.

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