MP Tabtabaei expected to grill oil minister over suspected corruption

Kuwaiti firm forced to sell shares in Delaware buildings


MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei

KUWAIT: MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei is expected to file to grill Oil Minister Bakheet Al-Rasheedi for allegedly sending inaccurate answers to a series of questions about suspected corruption in the oil sector. Parliamentary sources said the lawmaker refused to receive the answers of the questions, as he found that the minister was trying to protect senior oil executives from alleged corruption.

The questions, sent several months ago, inquired about allegations of rampant corruption among top executives in the state-owned oil sector. Tabtabaei demanded an explanation regarding the allegations. But the answers were reportedly incomplete and contained inaccurate information about the issues raised, which the lawmaker interpreted as an attempt by the minister to shield the officials from questioning.

Shares’ sale
News reports showed that Wafra Consultancy Group, which is owned by the Public Authority for Social Security, was forced to sell the shares it owns in two major buildings in the business district of Wilmington in the US state of Delaware. The report added that the sale came as part of a court settlement after the two companies owning the buildings failed to pay real estate and mortgage loans of a total value of $52 million.

The parliament’s public funds protection committee recommended referring the International Book Fair’s project to the public prosecution over suspicion of deliberate tampering with public funds and facilitating illegal use of public funds. The committee also called for referring the responsible state property officials to prosecution and not renewing the contract signed with the Kuwait International Fairgrounds Company.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) agreed to exempt students with hearing and visual disabilities and cerebral palsy from the secondary stage unified exams and authorized forming special committees to set exams that match these students’ capabilities. The ministry also authorized special school directors to set exams for grades 5 to 9, said informed sources. The sources added that the approval was made following several complaints by the students’ parents who noted that their children usually got very low marks compared to other students sitting for the same exams.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Economic Development Hind Al-Sabeeh said NGOs that had recently taken part in the Iraq reconstruction conference had voluntarily promised to collect donations. Responding to an inquiry by MP Mohammed Hayef concerning reports about Kuwaiti NGOs’ plans to donate to Iraq, Sabeeh stressed that none of the concerned charities was obliged to do so. She added that no donations would be collected without notifying the donors and the ministry.

By B Izzak and A Saleh

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