By Staff writer
Officials, expected to appeal, asked to pay $66,000 to have jail sentences suspended
A court in Kuwait has handed the current Minister of Electricity Water and 14 senior officials at the ministry two-year jail sentences over a faulty generators scandal in 2007.
Kuwait Times reported that the minister, Ahmad Al Jassar, and 14 of his officials were each handed two-year jail sentences at a Kuwait misdemeanours court, but were asked to pay KD20,000 ($66,235) each in lieu of suspended jail terms.
The newspaper reports that the penalties are expected to be appealed.
The case centred around a contract given to a local company to urgently import generators as part of an emergency power plan. The generators, however, were subsequently found to be faulty and ended up costing the government 100s of million of dinars.
The issue was heavily debated at Kuwait’s National Assembly, which referred the issue to the Audit Bureau, which formed a committee to investigate.
The case was then sent to the public prosecution, after which charges were issued against the officials.
Al Jassar, who is expected to step down as minister, had been appointed to the position earlier this year following the resignation of Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim, who stepped down after Kuwait experienced a widespread power outage on February 11 last.
Kuwait Times, quoting sources, says that the 2007 emergency power plan saw the government invest KD400 million ($1.3 billion) to purchase 1974 model power generators that have not been used since. The funds came from state treasury without any Amiri decrees and in the absence of the parliament, and had ignored the country’s Central Tenders Committee and the Audit Bureau.