Kuwaiti MPs Submit No-Confidence Motion against Housing Minister

Published November 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Ten Kuwaiti lawmakers Monday submitted a no-confidence motion against housing minister Adel al-Sebeih accusing him of financial irregularities and mismanagement. 

The motion came after a 12-hour parliamentary session in which Sebeih was also accused of taking decisions against the interests of Kuwaiti citizens who by law are entitled to government houses as part of a generous welfare system. 

Parliament will vote on the motion on December 4 in line with the emirate's constitution. If passed, it would mean an automatic dismissal of the minister. 

MPs charged that Sebeih has in the past few months issued decisions to raise monthly installments paid by citizens for government houses by up to 300 percent. 

Married Kuwaiti couples in the oil-rich emirate, where citizens benefit from a cradle-to-grave welfare system, are entitled to a government house once against the payment of a small monthly installment over a period of 30 years. 

Kuwaiti citizens can wait more than 10 years for a government house in a country where a 500 square meters (598 square yards) plot of land can fetch more than 300,000 dollars. 

MPs also charged that Sebeih, who is also minister of electricity and water, is a partner in a family trading company that made deals with his ministry. 

He admitted the charge saying he only inherited the company which had been dealing with the ministry before he assumed office. 

Only elected MPs are allowed to vote on the no-confidence motion which requires just a simple majority to pass. Cabinet ministers, who are ex-officio members in parliament, are barred from voting on such motions. 

Analysts expect that the no-confidence will throw this Gulf Arab state into a political crisis and will most likely shake an already fragile cabinet. 

Kuwait was plunged into a political crisis last year after the grilling of then-justice and religious affairs minister Ahmad al-Kulaib which eventually led to the dissolution of parliament and the holding of fresh polls in July -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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