KUWAIT: MPs Riyadh Al-Adasani and Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said yesterday they will file a request next week to grill the prime minister over alleged payments of cash grants through lawmakers and general mismanagement. Later, MP Hussein Quwaiaan said he will join the two MPs in the grilling. The announcement came after Shiite MP Abdullah Al-Tameemi admitted that he mediated cash grants from the office of Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah for needy people and husseiniyas (Shiite places of worship).
The revelation by Tameemi was a shock for several MPs, especially after he revealed in a television interview that several other MPs have mediated similar cash grants. Tameemi did not reveal the amounts he received and on how many occasions and whether they were only intended for husseiniyas or individuals too.
Later in the day, Tameemi issued a written statement explaining that the cash grants were never received by him and transferred directly to the beneficiaries. He said that he only mediated the payments on purely social purposes and not political ones. He explained that he had helped arrange similar grants in the previous Assembly elected in Dec 2012 but dissolved in June the following year, but insisted that he had never received the payments personally.
Kandari said in a statement that revelations by Tameemi reminded him of the so-called bank deposits scandal which involved at least 13 members of the 2009 Assembly who allegedly received around KD 100 million in political bribes from the government. As a result, Kandari said he and Adasani decided to submit the grilling next week on two counts, the payment of cash grants to MPs and the general policies of the government.
He said the announcement indicates that what had been practiced in the past secretly is being done in public now, which shows that such MPs have no respect for the people. Kandari called on the prime minister to accept the grilling and answer whether the grants were paid from his own money or from the Cabinet’s, and why they had been paid to lawmakers.
Adasani said he was shocked that a lawmaker comes out in public to say he has received cash from the prime minister and distributed them as aid to needy people, adding there are many charity organizations taking care of such issues. Adasani questioned if the prime minister would have paid the money if Tameemi was not an MP and if the premier grants cash to common people. He also wondered how would an MP monitor the government after accepting cash grants from the premier.
Shiite MP Khalil Abul said the planned grilling is well-deserved because what Tameemi said is very serious and constitutes a grave harm to the legislature. He said that charity should be done properly through the right channels and not by giving the money to MPs. MP Safa Al-Hashem said what happened violates article 122 of the constitution, besides being a contradiction of norms and values.
By B Izzak
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