KUWAIT: Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh holds a document during a session at the National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh yesterday comfortably defeated a no-confidence motion filed by 10 MPs last week following a grilling in which he was accused of benefiting from his post and violating the law. Minutes after the vote, MPs Abdulkarim Al-Kandari and Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei filed two separate grillings against HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah over alleged violations and mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis.

MP Mohammad Hayef, one of those who voted against the interior minister, said he will file a fresh grilling against the minister today. Thirty-five lawmakers renewed their confidence in the minister while 13 MPs voted in support of the motion, which would have unseated the minister had it won the support of 25 MPs.

HH the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of congratulations to Saleh for winning confidence of the Assembly. He commended Saleh's answers to the grilling he faced on Aug 18 and the consequent confidence of the parliament during yesterday's session.

The grilling of the minister was marred by the leaks of two sensitive videos allegedly showing top officials plotting to tap social media accounts of a number of Kuwaiti citizens. Saleh told the house ahead of the vote that he had taken a decision to send into retirement the chief of the state security agency, but added that he withdrew the decision yesterday and asked the government's legal department to determine its legality.

The secret service chief and seven officers had already been suspended pending further investigation and the entire case was sent to the public prosecution for investigation. The minister also said he had sent to the public prosecution a ministry official for allegedly destroying archive files of the ministry. MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, who had grilled Saleh, charged members of what he called the "deep state" of threatening the security and future of the country and urged action against them. MP Safa Al-Hashem, defending the minister, criticized Muwaizri's grilling as lacking evidence, saying he only focused on personal accusations.

In his grilling, MP Kandari charged that the prime minister failed to manage the coronavirus crisis regarding issuing appropriate policies and decisions to control the negative impacts of the pandemic. He said the premier failed to check mismanagement in the signing of contracts worth KD 1.1 billion between March and the end of June. He also accused the premier of failure to take decisions to control the influx of expatriates into the country during the pandemic and also failed to draw appropriate policies to rectify the imbalance of the population structure that is in favor of expats.

Kandari also accused the prime minister of failing to manage public finances, whose resources have been depleted, charging that his government resorted to impose charges and taxes on citizens to raise non-oil revenues. The lawmaker accused the premier of violating article 39 of the constitution, which bans the state from eavesdropping on citizens without prior permission from the judiciary.

In his grilling, MP Subaei accused the premier of failing to safeguard oil resources that generate most of public revenues and also for violating the law by revoking citizenship of Kuwaitis for political reasons. The National Assembly is due to meet next Tuesday to debate two grillings against Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi.