KUWAIT CITY - MP Khaled Mohammed Al-Otaibi has voiced objection to steps being taken by certain political and economic figures to push for the merger of Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Ahli United Bank (AUB). He claimed these steps, which started several months ago, are unclear and lack transparency. “We strongly reject the action of some influential parties keen on controlling the biggest bank in the country and exclude government institutions from the decision- making process, particularly since the government and its institutions own approximately 50 percent of KFH shares,” he said.
He added certain parties seem bent on pushing for the merger of the two banks – one operates in accordance with the Islamic Law (KFH) and the other is a traditional bank (AUB). He wondered how the merger will proceed and realize the objectives presented by the promoters of the deal. He warned about the consequences of putting pressure on Kuwaiti institutions to contribute to KFH and other economic bodies.
He stressed, “Our economic institutions, headed by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK), operates independently and they fully abide by the laws to protect public money and maintain the good performance of banks in the country.” In a related development, MP Mohammed Hayef has forwarded questions to Finance Minister Anas Al- Saleh about Islamic banks, specifically the merger of KFH and AUB. He pointed out that monitoring Islamic banks is very important to ensure strict compliance with the Islamic Law and to boost the confidence of customers – a progressive step in the field of Islamic finance.
Taking into consideration that KFH is currently a hundred percent Islamic bank, he wants to know the percentage of AUB and that of the merged bank. He requested for details such as reasons behind the merger, names of executives and board members in both banks, their nationalities and work experience. He asked if Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has submitted an internal memo about the merger, and then demanded for copies of the memo and feasibility study on the merger if any.
Meanwhile, MP Abdul Wahab Al- Babtain said he invited his colleagues to a meeting in his office in order to discuss ways to deal with the government in the next legislative round. He said they will look into a number of important files, especially the interpellation requests.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff
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