Parliament questions Kuwaiti prime minister over alleged fraud

08 December 2009

Sheikh Nasser is first senior Gulf leader to submit to grilling from politicians

Kuwait’s prime minister has answered parliamentary questions from members of the country’s National Assembly over alleged financial misconduct, becoming the first regional leader and royal to submit to questioning from elected politicians.

The questioning of Sheikh Nasser Mohamed al-Ahmed al-Sabah was completed at about 2.30pm in Kuwait on 8 December, after about an one hour and 30 minutes, according to a source attending the closed meeting.

“They [the MPs] have finished with the prime minister and are now questioning the minister of public works,” said the senior government adviser. “The prime minister did very well.”

Members of parliament wanted to question the prime minister over allegations of financial irregularities made by Faisal al-Mislem, a conservative Islamist MP.

In October, Al-Mislem submitted a 34-page document to the National Assembly claiming that in June 2008, Sheikh Nasser paid KD200,000 ($701,000) for undisclosed reasons to a third party, who was then an MP.

Under Kuwait’s constitution, MPs can file applications to publicly question members of the cabinet up to and including the prime minister. Sheikh Nasser is a nephew of the country’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.

On 7 December, MPs threatened to file a no-confidence motion against Sheikh Nasser and his government if they failed to submit to parliamentary questioning.

Previously, MPs passed motions in parliament calling for Sheikh Nasser and members of his cabinet to be questioned. However, the refusal of the prime minister and his cabinet to submit to questioning have resulted in the resignation of five cabinets since 2006. The emir has also dissolved parliament three times since he took office in 2006.

Sheikh Nasser decided to reply to the allegations in order to prevent further political upheaval, according to sources close to the government.

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications