Thieves behind the agreement |
Kuwait Times - 31 May, 2012
Author: Meshal Al-Thufairi
Today we find ourselves at the front line against corruption and thieves of public funds who have abused the wealth of the nation for four decades. They are making use of the government’s weakness, which enabled them to promote their associates to leading posts in the state.
Today, Kuwait is living the aftermath of a court ruling by which it is required to pay $ 2.16 billion to Dow Chemical as a result of mistakes committed by Petroleum Industries Company (PIC). They failed to follow proper legal procedures, which would have helped prevent the squander of public funds. Recommendations of the State Audit Bureau were ignored when a penalty clause was added to the contract, speculating that a party which unilaterally opts out of the deal becomes required to pay 30 percent of the contract’s value in compensation.
Kuwait was further set up in a trap when it agreed with Dow Chemical to assign international tribunes to handle potential differences. This stipulation was taken in violation of Cabinet decision 11 made in 1988, which clearly states that any dispute between a state department and an international investor is required to be settled in Kuwaiti courts.
Furthermore, the International Chamber of Commerce allows both parties to freely decide the place where their legal disputes can be addressed, adding further fuel to the speculation that something suspicious is behind the deal.
The same contract, under article 10 clause 2, states that any party has the right to terminate the contract without falling into the penalty clause if the decision is made before January 2, 2009. Despite the fact that the termination happened in late December 2008, the stipulation was never brought up to prevent the circumstances that led to the court order requiring Kuwait to pay more than 2 billion US dollars from public funds.
I hope that a Parliament member will question the Oil Minister on the following:
1- Provide all documents pertaining to the contract with Dow Chemical.
2- Provide the names of local and international middlemen if any, while mentioning their legal status in detail if possible.
3- Provide the names of law firms and lawyers who represented Kuwait during the trial at the International Court.
4- Provide the dates of the trials in the case and the places they were held after the contract was canceled.
5- Was the ruling made after judicial hearings or based on legal documents provided by the two parties?
I believe the answers to these questions will be a decisive factor as to whether or not irresponsible exploitation of public funds was involved in the case. Whoever today tries to put any blame on the Popular Action Bloc, for “pushing” the former prime minister to cancel the deal, is wrong and time will prove that their actions were motivated by eagerness to prevent the spread of corruption. -Al-Rai