Kuwaiti deputy premier urged to quit

Kuwaiti lawmakers have called on Muhammad Dayf Allah al-Sharar, the deputy prime minister and state minister for cabinet affairs, to quit because of allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

    Al-Sharar (L) survived a no-confidence vote in March 2003

    Parliament in December had ordered the audit bureau, the state's accounting watchdog, to investigate allegations that al-Sharar was to blame for squandering hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds.

    The charges were made during a questioning session by liberal members of parliament Ahmad al-Mulaifi and Ali al-Rashid who said the minister had either taken part in alleged graft or failed to stop corruption in departments under his authority.

    In its report, the audit bureau confirmed a number of the claims and complained that it did not receive enough cooperation from some government agencies.

    Resignation demand

    "The report confirms our claims ... I call on the minister to act in a brave manner: Take responsibility and quit," al-Rashid said.

    "The report confirms our claims ... I call on the minister to act in a brave manner: Take responsibility and quit"

    Lawmaker Ali al-Rashid

    "This is a historic opportunity to declare war on corruption ... the minister should be held accountable and I advise him to resign. It's time to leave," MP Walid al-Tabtabai said.

    But al-Sharar told Monday's assembly session he had already sent parts of the report to the public prosecution to launch a criminal investigation into the allegations.

    MPs backing al-Sharar accused his opponents of targeting the minister for personal reasons and because he "belongs to Kuwaiti tribes".

    The deputy premier had survived a no-confidence vote following similar questioning in March 2003.

    Last week, Muhammad Ahmad al-Jar Allah resigned as health minister after facing a stormy grilling in parliament over allegations of graft.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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