KUWAIT: Lawmakers yesterday strongly lashed out at the government’s handling of Kuwait Airways Company (KAC) after the resignation of its chairwoman and the appointment of a new board of directors. Islamist opposition MP Jamaan Al-Harbash criticized the way Rasha Al-Roumi resigned and the reasons she raised in her resignation letter, and said that he and a number of MPs will submit a request in the next session to probe the issue by the public funds protection committee.
Roumi resigned on Tuesday saying that the government did not back the airline, provided preferential treatment to another domestic carrier and did not pay KD 600 million as part of its pledged capital. The government immediately appointed Sami Al-Rasheed, the former chief of Kuwait National Petroleum Co, to lead a new board of directors.
Harbash said regardless of the new appointment, the resignation should not be allowed to pass without a proper investigation. He said Roumi raised the problem that the government provides better treatment to other operators than KAC, which means there is an attempt to limit its capabilities.
Several lawmakers and analysts claimed there are attempts to damage KAC by some who want to purchase it. Opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair said the issue of KAC will be among the points that will be included in the planned grilling against the prime minister.
MP Riyadh Al-Adasani pointed out that what happened at KAC is evidence that attempts to privatize the carrier have failed, adding that the government should submit a long-delayed draft law calling to place KAC under the Kuwait Investment Authority as a state-owned company. He demanded an investigation into what happened at KAC and the government’s lack of support for the national carrier.
MP Abdullah Al-Roumi charged that the resignation of the KAC chairwoman is yet another proof that the government is sponsoring corruption, adding that he was surprised by the resignation, although the duration of the board was to expire in 2019. He criticized the government for not issuing any statement to clarify and explain the situation at KAC.
MP Roumi said the resignation came despite the success of the outgoing chief and board of directors in modernizing the KAC fleet and improving its financial status, overcoming government hurdles. He described the government’s attitude towards the resignation as ill-advised that provided yet more evidence that the government supports corruption and fights against reforms and reformists.
By B Izzak