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Kuwaiti judicial source: Grant offered to Egypt requires parliamentary approval

February 5, 2014 at 2:11 am

A Kuwaiti judicial source, in an exclusive statement to the Anadolu news agency on Sunday, revealed that the $4 billion aid package that Kuwait is offering to Egypt must first be approved by the National Assembly (the Kuwaiti parliament) to fall within the country’s legal framework.

A Kuwaiti court has postponed the case until 12 January 2014, to offer the government a chance to present a copy of the bill that it is supposed to have presented to the National Assembly.

The judicial source, who requested anonymity, noted that the National Assembly’s approval of the grant will end the judicial controversy, and he expected it to be approved very soon.

If the National Assembly refuses of the grant, he explained that, “the court will make its decision in accordance with the constitution,” referring to the possibility of stopping the grant because the Kuwaiti constitution prohibits granting funds and resources without a legal approval.

Earlier, the government had requested that the National Assembly refuse the case because it does not have the jurisdiction, as the grant is considered to be a matter of sovereignty.

Lawyer Abdullah Al-Kandari told Anadolu in a telephone interview: “what I have done in terms of initiating a lawsuit to stop the billion dollar grant to Egypt is based on my duty as a Kuwaiti citizen to save public money. We are not against financial aid and we understand Egypt’s plight, but the government doesn’t recognize that the Kuwaiti people deserve the grant even more.”

There are Kuwaitis who have many debts and are unable to pay their loans back to the banks, as well as others who cannot afford to have private accommodation, he added.

The indictment that he presented to the court states that the cabinet’s decision to grant Egypt $4 billion constitutes a waste of public funds and it also violates the law and the constitution, rendering the decision invalid. He pointed out that neither the Kuwaiti constitution nor any valid law in force in Kuwait allows the government to offer other countries grants that are not to be paid back. Kuwait’s laws also don’t give the government the right to give up natural resources.

After the Egyptian army ousted former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, Kuwait announced that it would offer Egypt $4 billion: $1 billion as a petroleum grant, $2 billion as a deposit in the Egyptian Central Bank, and $1 billion as a grant in the form of a donation.

The Egyptian Central Bank received the $2 billion grant from the Kuwaiti government in September.

After the grant was announced, members of the Kuwaiti opposition said that they rejected the decision on the grounds that Kuwaitis are in need of the funds.

The opponents of the assistance package said that it comes at a time when Kuwaiti citizens are suffering from the pressures of consumption loans, noting that the government has refrained from paying these loans back despite repeated promises to do so.

Legal observers expect the lawsuit to be rejected based on other assistance packages that Kuwait previously offered to other countries, including the aid it offered to the US during Hurricane Katrina and what it offered to Japan during the nuclear reactor crisis.