Oil Minister Bakheet Al-Rasheedi

KUWAIT: Lawmakers stepped up the pressure on the oil minister and top oil executives after a ministerial investigation committee found that some of the allegations against them were true. MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain said on Twitter yesterday that the results of the investigation committee prove that the grilling of Oil Minister Bakheet Al-Rasheedi was correct. Babtain and MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei grilled the minister several months ago over a variety of allegations, including accusing the minister and top oil executives of squandering public funds and corruption.

The lawmaker said that the committee to investigate the allegations was formed by the government and found that some of the allegations, especially squandering of public funds, were true. Babtain called on the minister and the oil officials to step down over the outcome of the probe, otherwise they will be forced to resign.

MP Faisal Al-Kandari said the outcome of the investigation is yet another proof that the accusations of squandering of public funds and corruption were true. He said the committee report found there were violations totaling $1.5 billion at a Vietnam refinery which was built jointly by Kuwait. He directly accused the CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC). He said top oil executives are now trying to extend their employment by five more years in violation of the law, adding that the oil administration has become an example of corruption. The lawmaker insisted that he and other MPs are prepared to grill the minister for as much as 10 times to ensure that the law is applied and corruption stopped.

MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei called last week on the oil minister not to renew fresh terms of top oil executives, saying that they have completed their legal terms and must quit. He warned that if the top oil officials do not quit or are not forced to resign, the oil minister will face a new grilling either in December or in January.

MP Mohammad Hayef said he will support any no-confidence or non-cooperation votes against the government during future grillings because authorities have failed to fulfill promises. Hayef said the government has deliberately delayed returning the citizenships that had been illegally revoked of a number of opposition figures.


By B Izzak