Kuwait MPs urge action against ex-oil minister over Dow

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Kuwaiti MPs demanded on Tuesday a criminal action against former oil minister Hani Hussein a day after he resigned to avoid grilling in parliament over the payment of a $2.2 billion penalty to Dow Chemical.

“We cannot remain silent on this issue. The former minister must be referred to court because of the all-time robbery,” independent MP Khaled al-Adwah said during a parliamentary debate.

MP Yacoub al-Sane said: “I will file a criminal lawsuit against Hussein and all officials who took part in the payment of the penalty.”

Earlier this month, Kuwait paid the huge penalty to Dow Chemical in accordance with a ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce after the Gulf state scrapped a $17.4bn joint venture in December 2008.

MPs are questioning why the government paid the penalty before parliamentary and government committees completed their investigations into the issue.

State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah al-Sabah told parliament the government has referred the whole issue for a judicial investigation.

MPs also criticized the former minister for taking key decisions in reshuffling the oil sector just a week before he quit, saying that was illegal and urging acting oil minister and finance minister Mustafa al-Shamali to suspend the changes.

They were the biggest shake-up ever of the oil sector, which contributes around 95 percent of Kuwait’s public revenues.

Hussein replaced a number of leading executives at state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp. and the chiefs of all eight KPC subsidiaries, including Kuwait Oil Co., responsible for oil and gas exploration and production, and national refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Co.

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