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Prosecution seeks to probe 2 MPs over corruption scandal

The National Assembly.

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The public prosecution yesterday asked the National Assembly to lift the immunity of two lawmakers suspected of links to a major corruption scam led by a Bangladeshi MP who is under interrogation in the country. Both the MPs have denied any links to the scandal, saying their names were dragged into the case for political reasons.

The requests were submitted to the speaker through the ministry of justice. The Assembly must vote on the request within 30 days of receiving the application, otherwise the immunity ceases automatically. Under Kuwaiti law, MPs enjoy powerful immunity under which they cannot be arrested, detained or questioned by the prosecution or courts unless their immunity is lifted or they voluntarily agree to the interrogation. The immunity ceases during parliamentary recess periods.

The Bangladeshi MP has been under detention for several weeks on suspicion of corruption, bribery and trafficking in persons. He has reportedly revealed a large number of names of his links, who include senior government officials, MPs and businessmen.

MP Riyadh Al-Adasani vowed that he will highlight the case of the Bangladeshi MP and suspected money laundering and inflated accounts of some MPs in a grilling he intends to file against the finance minister. Adasani already grilled the finance minister earlier this month on charges of failure to perform his duty, intention to raise charges on public services and impose taxes. The grilling ended without filing a no-confidence motion.

The lawmaker said that supervisory departments, especially the finance ministry’s financial intelligence unit and the Central Bank should have carried out their duty promptly and reported such issues without delay, adding he will prove this in the grilling.

MPs Mohammad Al-Dallal and Osama Al-Sheen yesterday proposed that the Cabinet should ask the Anti-Corruption Authority to prepare a report every four months to highlight the main corruption cases raised locally. They also proposed that the report should include alleged corruption cases received by the authority from the government or from individuals, and measures taken towards such allegations.

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Separately, the prosecution also asked the Assembly to lift the immunity of MP Majed Al-Mutairi regarding a problem with a police patrol. Meanwhile, Kuwait is preparing to move into the second phase of easing coronavirus restrictions today as malls, restaurants and cafes, in addition to public parks, are due to reopen following a closure that exceeded three months.

Curfew hours will be relaxed to start from 8 pm instead of 7 pm and end at 5 am. Malls will be allowed to operate until 6 pm. Restaurants and cafes can operate but dine-in is not allowed. Government offices will reopen partially at a capacity not exceeding 30 percent. The second phase is scheduled to continue for 30 days. MP Ali Al-Deqbasi protested yesterday at the government’s continued lockdown of Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula, claiming he did not understand the logic behind the lengthy closure.

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