Kuwait opposition wants to grill oil minister over graft


"The request to question him will be filed on June 10 and the meeting will take place on June 25," opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak told reporters.

He said the opposition has enough support for a vote of no confidence which, if passed, would mean the minister’s automatic dismissal.

Sheikh Ali was quoted by Al-Qabas newspaper as saying on May 12 that he considers former oil minister Sheikh Ali Khalifa al-Sabah, 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 dollars. He categorically denies the charges.

Barrak said that only the minister’s resignation would halt the opposition request to interrogate him, and added that an apology would not be enough.

The oil minister came under fire in a parliamentary session on May 14 when several MPs called on him to step down.

Meanwhile parliament on Monday concluded a heated debate on a report on more than 40 corruption cases by asking its public funds protection committee to follow up on graft cases being heard in courts inside and outside the emirate.

Government legal officials said on May 1 that they have recovered 548 million dollars from British and Spanish court rulings on graft cases involving both Kuwaitis and foreigners.

The verdicts relate specifically to the KOTC graft case and the loss of five billion dollars invested in the Spanish Torras Group in which former officials of the London-based Kuwait Investment Office (KIO) were cited to have committed fraud in a number of cases.


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