Ex-Kuwaiti PM refuses to appear before House panel
KUWAIT CITY KUWAIT’S ex-premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al Ahmad Al Sabah refused to appear before a parliamentary panel probing alleged graft against him, saying the summons issued to him were illegal.
In a letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Tuesday, Sheikh Nasser said the parliamentary panel had no authority to summon a former premier as it can only question ministers and government employees.
The former premier, a senior member of the Gulf state’s ruling family, also said that he was cleared by a special judicial tribunal which on Thursday decided to end its inquiry into the case, citing a lack of evidence.
Sheikh Nasser was supposed to have appeared before the parliamentary probe on Monday.
Sheikh Nasser, who was prime minister between February 2006 and November 2011, is accused by the opposition of transferring millions of dollars of public funds into his overseas bank accounts.
He has categorically denied the allegations, saying that “all the transfers were in the service of the interests of Kuwait and contained no personal benefit.” Head of the parliamentary panel, opposition MP Faisal al Muslim told reporters that the committee has not accepted Sheikh Nasser’s refusal to attend and has issued new summons for May 26.
Last week, the panel questioned Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al Sabah who promised the government will cooperate with the probe.
Although the judicial tribunal ended the inquiry, the graft allegations are still being investigated independently by the parliamentary probe panel formed in March and the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog.
Sheikh Nasser resigned on November 28 under pressure from youth-led street protests which intensified after allegations of corruption were made against him in August and September last year.
That was followed by dissolving the parliament and holding snap polls in which the opposition scored an impressive victory.
The Kuwaiti parliament is also investigating allegations that an estimated $350 million were deposited into the bank accounts of 13 former MPs which the opposition charges were political bribes implicating the previous government.