Last updated: 6 May, 2012

Kuwait’s PM quizzed over graft case

Kuwait’s current and former prime minister have been questioned by parliamentary and judiciary committees probing graft allegations, a leading MP and local media said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah, who was appointed in December, was questioned Saturday night by a parliamentary panel probing alleged illegal money transfers by his predecessor, head of the panel MP Faisal al-Muslim said.

Muslim said the premier, who was first deputy prime minister and defence minister in the previous government, “fully cooperated with the investigation” related to former premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

The two officials are senior members of the Al-Sabah family which has been in power in this oil-rich Gulf state for over 250 years.

The panel, formed by parliament in March, is investigating allegations that Sheikh Nasser transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds into his private accounts overseas.

Opposition lawmaker Mussallam al-Barrak, who was the first to make the claims in September, has said that around $275 million was transferred during the six-year term of the former premier.

The panel has already interviewed senior ministers and officials over the allegations.

A judicial tribunal probing the same case has also questioned Sheikh Nasser who denied any wrongdoing, Al-Qabas newspaper reported on Sunday.

The former premier affirmed that “all the transfers were for the service of the interests of Kuwait and it contained no personal benefit,” the daily quoted unnamed sources as saying.

Sheikh Nasser, who was also implicated in another alleged corruption scandal, was forced to resign in November, leading to the dissolution of parliament and snap elections which the opposition won.

Parliament had formed a second probe panel to investigate allegations that about $350 million was deposited illegally into the accounts of 12 former MPs and a member in the current house.

The opposition charged the funds were bribes to buy their votes on crucial issues.

The attorney general has been investigating the case since September.