KUWAIT: Opposition MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei yesterday said he will ask HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to testify in the cassation court in the case involving 69 opposition activists who are accused of storming the National Assembly building. Tabtabaei’s statement on Twitter came after reports cited the prime minister expressing dismay over Kuwait’s drop in the Corruption Perception Index’s latest release. The premier was quoted as saying that the new low ranking distorts the country’s image and vowed to take necessary actions.
Tabtabaei, who was among 67 opposition activists handed harsh jail terms for storming the Assembly building in late 2011, said that he and other activists will ask their defense lawyers to demand that the premier should testify in court. The lawmaker said the activists entered the Assembly building following a demonstration against corruption in the country and in protest against lawmakers who were accused of accepting millions of dinars in bribes.
Tabtabaei, along with MP Jamaan Al-Harbash, spent three months in jail before they were freed by the court of cassation, which is currently handling the case. MP Mohammad Al-Mutair, who also received a jail term in the same case, wondered how it took so long for the premier to realize that corruption is rife in the country.
Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah issued a decision yesterday referring seven senior officials to the public prosecution for allegedly stealing public funds as part of the so-called hospitality spending scandal. The decision was reported on the Twitter account of a retired police major general, who said the action came at the recommendation of the Assembly. The Assembly has launched an investigation into the issue after budget reports showed that hospitality spending by the interior ministry swelled to KD 23 million two years ago, while it was under KD 2 million the previous year.
Separate probes by the interior ministry and the Audit Bureau concluded that the funds were misused by interior ministry officials, and the Assembly’s budgets committee – which conducted the parliamentary investigation – called on the interior ministry to refer the case to court.