KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem yesterday. - KUNA

KUWAIT: As the country appears to be sliding into a political crisis following a public clash between the ministers of defense and interior, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem yesterday said he was informed by HH the Amir that the Assembly is staying. Ghanem told reporters that a letter sent by Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah over the outcome of an investigation conducted by the ministry over alleged graft will be placed on the agenda of the Assembly's next session for a possible debate.

In an unprecedented spat in public, the defense minister said he referred an alleged KD 240 million corruption case to the public prosecution and sent the names of former defense minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, who is currently interior minister, and five top army officials. The interior minister responded by issuing a public statement categorically denying any involvement in the alleged embezzlement in the army fund. Sheikh Nasser also said that the Cabinet resigned on Thursday over the embezzlement case and not as mentioned by the Cabinet.

The public prosecution yesterday reportedly sent the alleged corruption case to the special ministers' tribunal for a trial, which means that the tribunal will summon the interior minister to question him. A number of lawmakers yesterday signed a motion calling to ask the state Audit Bureau and the Anti-Corruption Authority to investigate the letter of the defense minister. The Anti-Corruption Authority said yesterday it was ready to receive complaints against corruption.

The speaker said that a majority of MPs are neutral in the ongoing row, adding that the country's situation is under control. The liberal Kuwait Democratic Forum called for comprehensive political changes and that the formation of the next government must be based on a clear reform program. The Islamic Constitutional Movement called for allowing the judiciary and supervisory bodies to examine all accusations made in connection with the alleged corruption in the army fund.

By B Izzak