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Kuwait govt official quits amid claims of corruption
September 25, 2013, 1:03 pm

A senior Kuwaiti Government official has quit his post while detailing explosive allegations of corruption including within Ministerial ranks, it was reported.

In the latest chapter in what has been a tumultuous time in Kuwait politics, Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) director-general Subhi Al Mullah accused Minister of Housing Salem Al Othaina of breaking the law, a local daily reported.

At a press conference to announce his shock resignation, Al Mullah claimed Al Othaina had gone outside of his authority to hire managers at the PAHW. He also alleged the Minister formed a committee outside the PAHW to handle some jobs and that he illegally cancelled the allocation and distribution committees at the authority.

Warning of “politicisation of the housing crisis” and “compromises made at its expense”, Al Mullah also claimed that the Khairan Project, which includes 32,000 housing units, was put on hold because a minister had ordered for it to be suspended.

He did not name the minister involved.

However, the Times reported that an unnamed source close to minister Al Othaina accused Al Mullah of being “unable to comprehend [the challenges of] the upcoming period or handle its requirements”.

The source told the daily newspaper that Al Mullah was given eight months with full autonomy “but failed to present a clear work plan, prompting minister Al Othaina to step in and save the PAHW from further decline”.

Kuwait’s housing crisis is expected to be a top priority when the Parliament resumes sessions on October 29.

Under the Kuwaiti Constitution, the government is required to provide a house for a Kuwaiti family within five years after their application is submitted.

However, many families have been waiting for a government house for more than a decade with applications topping 110,000, according to official estimates quoted by the daily

Residential areas are said to cover 10 percent of Kuwait’s total area, with the majority of the desert remaining the property of state departments, including the ministries of oil and defense.

The lack of housing has resulted in land prices in Kuwait skyrocketing. The average price of a house in Sabah Al Salem, about 17km south of Kuwait City, reaching $776,830 (KD220,000).

The local daily  report said apartment rents also continued to climb with average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Salmiya, about 15km southeast of Kuwait City, $1059 (KD300) a month.

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