Independent MP Nasser Al-Duwailah charged yesterday that the ongoing controversy over the fourth refinery project is a dispute between merchants and influential people, backing earlier reports that claimed the whole issue was only a fight for a piece of the cake. Duwailah wondered why the government had bowed to political pressure in referring the project to the Audit Bureau for an investigation. "Since the outbreak of the controversy over the refinery, all we heard was political slogans and press statements and nothing with any substance or specific issues," he said.
Duwailah blamed the government for delaying the project for a very long time and added that there are people who want to block the refinery project for their own personal interests. "These people are ready to block the country's development plans forever if their interests were not served," he said. The lawmaker called on those who oppose the project in its current form to submit specific issues because until now there are no facts or concrete evidence to back their viewpoint. Duwailah, a lawyer by profess ion, said that MPs opposing the project are calling to send it to the Central Tenders Committee but the law of the Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) does not require oil projects to go to the CTC.
MP Khalaf Al-Enezi said the government decision to refer the project to the Audit Bureau will clarify the whole issue, and launched a scathing attack against those who claim to be defenders of public funds but in reality they are not. Enezi said that "there have been some suspicious interference" in the project which indicates to some vested interests. He regretted that conflicts in the country have reached the extent of blocking development and undermining the country's interests.
Enezi also rejected a campaign against leaders of the Audit Bureau by some MPs. The controversy has been snowballing since May when Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) announced the awarding of four major contracts to four South Korean and a Japanese firm.
The main objections came from the Popular Action Bloc which insists that the bidding process and awarding of contracts must go through the Central Tenders Committee and that oil projects are no exception. In another development, MP Ali Al-Omair said that speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi has invited MPs for a meeting on Sunday to discuss issues that must be accorded priority in the assembly discussions. The issues will later be discussed by the national assembly and if approved will become the program of action for the next term starting in October.
Copyright (c) 2008, Kuwait Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.