Kuwaiti legislator accuses Commerce Minister of irregular appointments

Member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Al-Humaidi Al-Subaiee during the grilling session

Member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Al-Humaidi Al-Subaiee joined his peer Mubarak Al-Hajraf, during Tuesday’s parliamentary session, in making accusations on Minister of Commerce Khaled Al-Roudhan. The minister is responsible for violations with respect of appointing senior civil servants in the departments under his jurisdictions, said Al-Subaiee, who spoke after his colleague Al-Hajraf grilled Al-Roudhan, also Minister of Industry and Minister of State for Services Affairs, over purported negligence of realty companies’ fraudulent acts.

The ministry has not withdrawn expired licenses from the real-estate companies for years and some have been given plots of land for token prices, he said. In his rhetorical barrage, MP Al-Subaiee said Kuwait was the last Gulf state to apply the “E license,” and the minister had waited for five months to answer MP’s queries. Minister Al-Roudhan has appointed a number of expatriates as advisors in his office, and gave them other jobs for high salaries although there are highly skilled citizens looking for work.

Echoing Al-Hajraf’s claims, he asked why the ministry encourages citizens to buy plots displayed at realty exhibitions while it is unable to stop acts of deception by the firms? The grilling session kick started with Al-Hajraf criticizing the ministry of Commerce and Industry for holding realty exhibitions without providing sufficient anti-risk precautions for potential traders.

Member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Mubarak Al-Hajraf on Tuesday criticized the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for holding realty exhibitions without providing sufficient anti-risk precautions for potential traders. These property buyers are often vulnerable to “fraud by some companies,” said MP Al-Hajraf, in his statement, interpolating Minister of Commerce, Industry and Minister of State for Services Affairs Khaled Al-Roudhan, during a session at Abdullah Al-Salem Hall.

Reacting to remarks by the minister saying that the real-estate fairs “are safe,” Al-Hajraf said he, as chairman of the parliamentary complaints committee, had received a lot of notifications over realty deception. He accused the ministry of breaching a Cabinet decision that regulates the holding of realty exhibitions, failing to authenticate companies’ ownership of land plots, whether these plots are not mortgaged or whether they are indebted.

The ministry, he continued, has organized fairs, calling on citizens to buy displayed plots, however, the exhibiting companies “have sold illusions to the nationals.” Arguing further, he said that sketches have not been accredited by Kuwait Municipality, thus the ministry role is absent, in addition to failing to penalize the violating companies. Citing an example, he said a company had sold chalets to citizens without accredited designs by the municipality. Worse, these properties did “not belong to the company.”

He expressed dismay at the ministry “failure to play its role in such a manner,” not paying compensations to the fraud victims, except for a few cases. Furthermore, MP Al-Hajraf put the blame primarily on the Public Authority for Industry (PAI) for recurring fish death because of its failure to adhere to rules of the Environment Public Authority (EPA), stipulating that plants and factories must be equipped with waste treatment facilities.

Not a single step has been taken at this level, amid continuing dumping of waste in Kuwait Bay, he adds. The ministry has distributed industrial plots according to sketches, and in reality, thus causing prices to soar, he charges further. As to the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, he accused it of giving financial allotments to the same entrepreneurs more than once. He also charged some ministry personnel with leaking information about creativity and inventions to others close to them.