Kuwait PM under pressure over cheque paid to former MP


The beleaguered premier, Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmed al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, has denied any wrongdoing, insisting the cheque was from his personal funds and for a humanitarian cause, the reports said.

Last week, Islamist MP Faisal al-Muslim showed in parliament a copy of the cheque signed by the prime minister but did not reveal the name of the beneficiary.

He said the cheque was issued in June 2008 to a person who was a member of parliament at the time but lost his seat in the emirate’s May general election.

Al-Seyassah newspaper quoted the prime minister as telling a group of MPs that “the cheque is personal from my private money and not from public funds,” and that “it was for a humanitarian cause.”

The prime minister also asked his lawyer to sue Muslim, the MP, in court for “breaching the privacy of his bank accounts.”

However, five liberal, Islamist and nationalist opposition groups and a number of MPs have called on Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the ruler, to resign, and also called for an investigation.

“Presenting funds by the prime minister to a member of parliament constitutes a flagrant breach of the constitution, morals and political principles,” said the liberal National Democratic Alliance.

“The prime minister should apologise to the political leadership and to the Kuwaiti people and resign,” the Alliance added.

The nationalist Popular Action Bloc, headed by veteran opposition MP Ahmad al-Saadun, called for a probe into the cheque and for the issue to be referred to the courts.

In March, Muslim filed to question the prime minister over charges that the staff of his office misappropriated tens of millions of dollars of public funds in the run-up to a 2008 general election.

At the same time, the lawmaker alleged that Sheikh Nasser had issued cheques to at least three MPs without providing any evidence.

The allegations, along with two more requests filed by other opposition MPs to quiz the prime minister, led the emir to dissolve parliament and call for snap polls.

Oil-rich Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political crises since Sheikh Nasser was appointed prime minister in February 2006. Over the period, parliament was dissolved three times and six cabinets were formed.


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