Kuwait oil minister apologizes


Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah, in a press statement sent to KUNA, was reacting to criticism by some lawmakers over his interview with a local newspaper regarding his relation with former oil minister Sheikh Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, and his position vis-a-vis some executives in the oil sector.

Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah was quoted by Al-Qabas newspaper as saying on May 12 that he considers Sheikh Ali Khalifa, a defendant in a major graft case, as "my master and that I consult him occasionally on oil issues". Sheikh Ali al-Khalifa is one of five former top officials of the state-owned Kuwait Oil Tanker Co (KOTC) accused of stealing more than $ 100 million. He categorically denies the charges. Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah’s comments outraged some MPs who considered them an insult to them, the Kuwaiti people and oil ministry executives.

Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah said "out of keenness on public interest, all should calm things down and defuse tension to pay more attention to development issues". "I find no problem in explaining anew that I will not allow anyone to interfere in function of my ministry. I bear the political and legal responsibility for everything that happens," Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah said. "I offer my apologies for any phrase mentioned in the interview, and I highly appreciate all faithful efforts of all workers in this vital (oil) sector and their sacrifices," he said.

Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah said his statements were uttered in good will and did not have "any purposes or objectives". "I am determined to continue what I had started in pursuing the rights of the state and public funds, and cooperate in a serious manner in the service of judicial investigations in the embezzlement at KOTC towards complete justice and recovery of all funds of the state," he said.

He hoped all parties would let go of this issue move on to focus on tackling key issues under leadership of HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince. Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah, underlining a strong desire to honor the trust of the Amir and the Prime Minister, expressed keenness to continue serving his country and fellow citizens.

Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah also affirmed yesterday he was staying in his post, adding he will deal with all political and legal implications. During a telephone call to KUNA earlier, Sehikh Ali said "I did not resign and I’m willing to face all political and legal implications relevant to this post."

MP Mussallam Al-Barrak had said on Monday that a request to grill Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah will be filed on June 10 unless the minister resigns. Barrak told reporters that the grilling debate will take place on June 25 and the opposition has enough support to vote the minister out of office, which requires 25 votes in the National Assembly. The lawmaker ruled out any possibility of a compromise or an apology from the minister, saying if he does not resign, the interpellation request will be submitted.


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