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Panel to refer investment suspicions to prosecution – Court defers Abdaly cell trial to Nov 3

KUWAIT: A National Assembly panel probing suspected violations and graft at the Kuwait Investment Office in London and other investment offices overseas is expected to recommend to refer the case to the public prosecution, rapporteur of the panel MP Madhi Al-Hajeri said yesterday. Hajeri was speaking after the committee held a meeting yesterday with the head of the government legal office and following a visit by the committee members to London to investigate the alleged violations.

But the lawmaker said that the final decision on the issue will be taken after the ministry of finance completes the translation of a large number of documents and answers sent to the committee in English. The committee will ask the Assembly to extend its work until completing its investigation, he said. But Hajeri insisted that a decision will be taken only after providing solid evidence about the claimed wrongdoings at the London office which comes under the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). He said that there are many suspicions about several issues at the office and that they had sent many questions and received answers in English, which are being translated by the finance ministry.

Committee member MP Sultan Al-Shemmari yesterday called for referring the whole issue to the public prosecution immediately. He said there are suspicions about illegal profits and misleading information by the KIA director, and the issue should be sent to the judiciary. On his part, MP Abdulhameed Dashti threatened to grill Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh if he did not move to take action against those who squandered public funds at the investment authority.

In another development, the criminal court yesterday held a new hearing in the case of 25 Kuwaitis and one Iranian accused of spying for Iran and Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah and plotting to carry out attacks on Kuwait. The hearing was again held behind closed doors. Judge Mohammad Al-Duaij set the next hearing for Nov 3 for filing arguments but rejected requests by defense lawyers to summon Sheikh Athbi Al-Sabah for testimony.

One of the suspects said last month that he had received the arms busted in his house from Sheikh Athbi during the 1990-91 Iraqi occupation of the country. Four of the suspects had been released on KD 500 bail each while three are still at large. The rest are in custody. Most of the men are charged of being members of Hezbollah and training on the use of arms and explosives.

The constitutional court meanwhile set Dec 16 to issue its verdict in a case challenging the constitutionality of a 16-year-old law enforcing sex segregation at universities. The law was passed and implemented but a lawyer filed a challenge against it, saying that it is not in line with the constitution.

By B Izzak

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