Row over ‘land for ministers’ in Bahrain


He alleged that he knew of two ministers who were given large plots of land, adding that this practice was carried out while the poor are left to suffer.


"A minister who has been appointed in 2002, and is still a minister, received a 9,000sqm land, then another similar size land and three others in Budaiya all in one year," he claimed.


"This respectable minister then sold those five lands, which add to 25,000sqm, for BD3.5 million and he got permission to sell them from the Royal Court, all within two years.


"Another minister who originally had a 160sqm land had his land replaced with another 1,000sqm land behind the Pearl Roundabout, which is a strategic location.


"All of this is on the expense of the poor people, who wait for ages for a small house in Hamad Town.


"My basic question to the government is what is the number of gestures, where are the lands located at, who received them, but its written response just shows me a total divided between Bahrain’s five governorates."


Mr Fairooz said that the question was originally addressed to Cabinet Affairs Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Atteyatallah Al Khalifa, but was referred to the Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa.


"Are you, Shaikh Khalid, happy with your response, why are you not naming those receiving gestures?" he asked the minister, who was present at the session.


"I have some documents because I knew that you would say nothing and they will be revealed soon to the public."


According to the table given to MPs at parliament by the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry, 500 lands were given as gestures in 2004, 842 in 2005, 1,635 last year and 665 so far. Since 2004 and until today, 74 were in the Muharraq Governorate, 91 in the Capital Governorate, 2,024 in the Northern Governorate, 848 in the Central Governorate and 59 in the Southern Governorate.


Shaikh Khalid said that Mr Fairooz was crossing the line and should be asking him according to his jurisdiction.


"The speech should not include any accusation and I can’t speak without the consent of those given the gestures," he said.


"I don’t like to be accused or anyone else and here is not a court for such cases to be discussed."


"I think that Mr Fairooz’s comment that I should be a real Justice Minister is degrading.


"I gave MPs everything they want and I have never hid anything, but there are confidential information, which touches people’s lives."

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