The Urethane Blog

Fallout in Kuwait

Kuwait MPs demand 24 officials prosecuted over Dow deal 

(MENAFN – Gulf Times) Kuwaiti MPs called on the government Wednesday to refer 24 ex-oil officials to the public prosecutor over a scrapped deal with US firm Dow Chemical that resulted in a 2.2 billion fine.

A parliamentary probe report charged the officials, including two former oil ministers and ex-top executives, of squandering public funds and making illegal profits.

Kuwait and US petrochemicals giant Dow Chemical signed a 17.4-billion joint venture in 2008 but Kuwait unilaterally scrapped the deal in December the same year due to a political dispute between the government and parliament.

The International Chamber of Commerce, acting as an arbitrator, ordered Kuwait to pay a penalty of 2.2 billion for scrapping the deal.

The government paid the fine in May 2013 although parliament had warned against making the payment before conducting a probe.

State Miister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah told parliament the government will refer the parliamentary investigation to court for legal action.

During the debate, several MPs criticised the parliamentary investigation as "unfair, biased and politically-motivated" for not including a large number of former and current top officials who were linked to the issue.

MP Ahmad al-Azemi said members of the Supreme Petroleum Council must also be charged because they approved the deal and its cancellation.

MP Mohammad Tana described the fine as "the robbery of the century" and claimed the payment was deliberately rushed for selfish interests.

He also accused the government of not taking any action to recover the funds.

MP Hamdan al-Azemi said the report failed to interrogate the senior officials who took the decisions, in a reference to the cabinet.