KUWAIT: MP Mohammad Tana yesterday carried out his threat and filed a request to grill Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Subaih over alleged financial and administrative violations. National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanem said he received the grilling yesterday and decided to place it on the agenda of the Assembly session following the opening ceremony on Oct 27. This means the grilling might be debated on Nov 3 if the minister does not request a two-week delay.
Ghanem however said that he will take the opinion of the Assembly on whether to take up the grilling in the opening session, but after the speeches of HH the Amir and HH the prime minister.
Tana’s grilling is based on alleged violations in four sectors under the ministry of social affairs and labor – the public authority for the disabled, the public manpower authority, the cooperative societies sector and the social care homes sector. Subaih, the only female member in the Cabinet, said in a quick response that she is prepared to face the questioning, adding that it presents an important opportunity for her to show the achievements she has made after assuming office.
The grilling is unique since it’s the first ever grilling request to be submitted while the Assembly is in summer recess, but the speaker said there is nothing wrong with this.
In his grilling, Tana claimed that a large number of financial and administrative violations have been committed in the four sectors and that the minister failed to take any action to curb the wrongdoings. In the public manpower authority, the lawmaker claimed that the official running the authority is not qualified for the job and that he was appointed in violation of the law, since he has never dealt with expatriate manpower and issues related to the demographic structure.
The former director of the authority Jamal Al-Dossari was fired by the minister following a dispute with her, and an official was appointed as a caretaker. Tana claimed that despite the establishment of the authority, visa trafficking, which he described as a crime, continues unabated and the minister failed to provide this vital sector with the required attention and care. The lawmaker claimed that the man running the authority is a geography graduate and had been absent from his job for 13 years until 2013.
Regarding the authority for the handicapped, he claimed that a large number of financial violations have been committed in awarding the contracts and remarks by the Audit Bureau were deliberately ignored or bypassed established financial rules to escape the bureau’s monitoring powers. He said that many contracts were divided deliberately to escape such monitoring, thus opening the doors for financial violations and corruption. He cited individual examples to prove his claim.
In the cooperative societies sector, the lawmaker alleged that massive corruption was committed by several cooperative societies and the minister did not take any action, thus failing to stop the violations. He claimed that the minister forced some cooperative societies to purchase certain equipment like cameras from a company owned by one of her relatives.
Under Kuwaiti law, the grilling will be debated in the National Assembly and the debate could lead to the submission of a no-confidence motion by 10 MPs. For the motion to pass, it requires the support of the majority of the elected MPs in the Assembly without the Cabinet ministers. If the no-confidence motion is passed, the minister will be dismissed immediately. Tana’s grilling is the first amid a string of threats by lawmakers to question several ministers.
By B Izzak