Information Minister, reacting to MPs' charges of complacency and mismanagement during a parliamentary grilling session Tuesday, affirmed legal action had been taken against suspected funds' manipulators in his department and international agencies that slapped sport ban on Kuwaiti sports.
Addressing the MPs from atop the podium at Abdullah Al-Salem Hall, the minister spoke at length and in details, reacting to the MPs' charges of complacency, mismanagement and negligence, noting that the State had filed libel suits against international agencies that slapped the sport ban, that ministry personnel charged with funds' mishandling had been referred to public prosecution and that "Kuwaitization" was successfully proceeding as planned in his department.
Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, also the Minister of State for Youth Affairs, said the libel suits filed by the State of Kuwait against the International Olympic Committee and FIFA (the International Federation for Football Association) in response to their "unjust decisions that have harmed us as a State are still in the Swiss courts."
He rejected arguments that these suits would not lead to Kuwait winning the case legally, recalling that the Government of Kuwait had urgently asked the IOC to allow it take part in Olympic games under the Kuwaiti flag, however the request was turned down "because the government has no capacity in this respect and is not a member of the International Olympic Committee."
In this situation, the former Kuwaiti Olympic Committee did not join the Government in filing the suit, thus failing to back it up in front of the Swiss courts, Minister Sheikh Salman explained. Minister Sheikh Salman affirmed that the Government has presented a practical solution to the sports problem, through enacting a sports law and inviting officials of the international agencies to visit the country.
This approach "did not please the interpellators and the parliamentary youth and sports committee was tasked with drafting a new sports law with a 60-day grace period, however their real goal is the minister; either I succumb and accept their demands or resign or stand for questioning which is I am honored to do."
The minister presented, during the parliamentary session, a video clip narrating history of the sports issue, stating that "the reason for it was the unjust complaint filed by the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee to the International Olympic Committee."
In 2010, Kuwaiti sports were internationally suspended due to a cable from the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee and that ban was lifted in 2012 as a result of an address by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the International Olympic Committee.
Sheikh Salman who shed light on various relevant legal topics, denied the interpellators' claim the sport problem dated between 2007 and 2012.
"It is still proceeding till today," he said, putting the blame for the ongoing problem on the former chairman of the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee and the General Director of the Asian Olympic Council -- without mentioning names.
On the grilling axis with respect of alleged administrative and financial irregularities, Sheikh Salman said the Ministry of Information, between 2014 and 2016, referred up to nine personnel, including two seniors, to the public prosecution on purported public funds misappropriation and corruption.
He denied excessive spending on festivals marking Kuwait as the Capital of Islamic Culture (2016) and affirmed that "Kuwaitization" was proceeding as planned in the departments under his jurisdictions. Number of employees in the Ministry of Information amounts to 8,145, including 6,937 Kuwaitis, some 85 percent of the staff, the minister said.
Despite "flaws" in the interpellation document, "I have opted to mount the stand because it is a podium of justice rather than defense," the minister said, expressing strong confidence in his substantiated arguments in response to the MPs' queries.
"May we be through such constitutional practices supportive of His Highness the Amir with respect of safeguarding the constitution and its provisions, not only for now but also for the next generations," he said.
He urged the MPs to back up efforts in facing "those who have tarnished international image of Kuwait and the Kuwaitis," affirming readiness to cooperate with the parliament to secure "a future free of those with hatred in their hearts." Sheikh Salman assailed language used in the interpellation motion saying it included "injurious and indecent terms."
The Information Minister Sheikh Salman criticized grilling lawmakers, Dr. Walid Al-Tabtabaei, Abdulwahab Al-Babtain and Al-Humaidi Al-Subaiee, for failing to substantiate with proofs their allegations on irregular acts by officials of the ministries of information and youth.
Reacting to accusations that the Ministry of Information had approved payment of KD 600,000 (USD=KD 0.305) for some twitter activists, the minister indicated that the inquiring MP had himself said "such a transaction was not approved by the Audit Bureau."
The MPs collected false information detrimental to the State institutions "and we have proven in our replies that this information are baseless," he said, affirming his keenness on safeguarding public funds and denied the claim that the Ministry of Information had bought broadcast rights for the aqua park for KD 220,000. On a Tajik folkloric show at a main shopping mall, he said it was organized by the Tajik embassy.
As to "Tora Bora" feature film, he denied claims that the ministry paid up to KD 40,000 per episode, indicating the cost did not exceed half this figure. In turn, the three MPs reacted to the minister's arguments.
Dr. Al-Tabtabaei insisted that there were controversial transactions of enormous costs. MP Al-Subaiee called on the minister to take legal action against "those who tarnished Kuwait's image" and refer them the State Security apparatus. Al-Babtain urged him to reveal names of those who addressed complaints to the international sports agencies, causing the suspension.