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MP Al-Babtain: Oil Minister responsible for Vietnam refinery losses

MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain
MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain
KUWAIT, May 1 (KUNA) -- MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain blamed Minister of Oil and Minister of Electricity and Water Bakheet Al-Rashidi of mishandling the Kuwait-Vietnam joint refinery project, which costed the country around USD 9 billion in losses.
This came during Tuesday's interpellation session of Minister Al-Rashidi presented by MPs Al-Babtain and Omar Al-Tabtabai.
MP Al-Babtain questioned the Minister over the date of opening for the Vietnamese refinery, adding that Kuwait's share in the project was at 35 percent, an equivalent of USD 3.220 billion of the refinery's total cost of USD 9.2 billion.
Kuwait already paid 46 percent of the mentioned share, around USD 1.481 billion, said Al-Babtain, adding that Kuwait borrowed a loan valued at USD 1.7 billion to complete what's left of the percentage.
MP Al-Babtain indicated that Minister Al-Rashidi assured in previous announcements that the steps to establish the Vietnamese refinery project were going according to plan with a mid-January 2017 opening date; however, a top official in Vietnam revealed that it was delayed until the first quarter of this year.
More postponement in the Vietnamese project will continue to increase the cost on Kuwait, said the MP, adding that Kuwait already paid around USD 1.3 billion due to 13 months of delay. Meanwhile, MP Al-Babtain touched on the case involving the US petrochemicals giant Dow Chemical, also known in Kuwait as the "Dow case", claiming that the state budget was abused by forcing Kuwait to pay KD 400,000 (around USD 1.3 million) in defense fees for shady individuals found to be involved in several frauds by parliamentary teams and committees.
A parliament committee report over the Dow case, which costed the country USD 2.1 billion, included 72 documents, while the Public Prosecution only received 12, Al-Babtain said, asking about the whereabouts of the remaining 60 ones.
Meanwhile, MP Al-Babtain mentioned the development and training program for leadership at Kuwait Oil Corporation (KOC), saying that the five-year course, beginning in 2013 and organized by private training company, had a baffling cost of KD 10.8 million (around USD 36 million).
The MP said that the KOC has its own training center, which made any step to outsource KOC training a violation.
Though the minister of Oil had only serve of six months in his post, it does not exempt him from being responsibility, affirmed Al-Babtain, adding that the current interpellation was not targeting Minister Al-Rashidi personally. (pickup previous) jy.fn.lb