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Companies, consultants 'erred gravely' leading to 'rain crisis', says officials
February 7, 2019, 7:54 pm
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The special panel, formed in aftermath of last year's heavy rains that inflicted massive damage throughout Kuwait, found that 12 companies and consultancy houses had committed grave errors that led to the catastrophic consequences, a senior official announced on Thursday. In a rare gesture by an official of high ranking, Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Housing Affairs Dr. Jenan Boushehri apologized to the Kuwaiti people and residents of the country for the damage on the roads.

The action plan to repair the roads is proceeding rapidly, the minister said, however, she indicated that the competent authorities were carefully and closely checking specifications of the repair materials to avert recurrence of an identical problem in the future. Teams have been formed in all of the governorates to count craters on the roads, minister Bousheheri said, reiterating her department is reachable on a special hotline for complaints. Dr. Fahad Al-Rkaibi, the head of the special commission for probing repercussions of the "rain crisis" -- who took part in the news conference -- said the committee recommended that a number of companies and consultancy houses be shunned because of their recurrent grave mistakes. It also recommended "full rotation" of the staff a the public works ministry, he added.

The commission members have talked to more than 44 employees and leaders, related to the Law issue, in 12 weeks. It met 43 times, at a rate of 220 hours. In addition to finding grave shortcomings on part of 12 companies and consultancy houses, the commission had also observed slack by officials in the sector of maintenance at the ministry of public works and the roads authority, he revealed.

Existence of 73 turning points caused enormous traffic problems at the time of the crisis, he said, also calling for "rotation of managers and habilitating national cadres to take things into their hands." Furthermore, the commission recommended establishing a national asphalt factory and examining the applied asphalt at special laboratories to avert recurrence of the "flying pebbles' scene."

Also in today's news conference, Minister Boushehri had declared that the officials suspected of slack and complacency or negligence in coping with last year's heavy rains would be interrogated. Those leaders in the public works department, along with others, will be referred to the AntiCorruption Authority (Nazaha), next week, for interrogations, she said. They will be subject to an inquiry at offices of the Civil Service Commission, she said at the conference held at the public works ministry headquarters. Simultaneously, a probe will be conducted in the ministry regarding the recent "rain crisis," she continued.

Kuwait witnessed torrential rain, late last year, inflicting widespread damage, swamping roads and public places. These heavy rains were reportedly unprecedented since 50 years ago. Boushehri indicated that her decision to grill the suspected officials was based on the commission report, hinting that some of the senior civil servants would be suspended from work.

Moreover, the minister added the Central Agency for Public Tenders (CAPT) and the Ministry of Housing would be informed of the companies that had been absolved of responsibility and those that had been found guilty. Minister Boushehri affirmed that repairing the roads that were damaged in the heavy downpour had already begun, indicating willingness to use good quality asphalt for repaving. 

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