KUWAIT - The interior ministry has reportedly scrapped a plan to impound vehicles for two months for certain violations. The decision to impound vehicles of drivers caught using their mobiles while driving or driving without a seatbelt triggered widespread outrage and criticism among locals and residents.
On the first day of the new regulation’s implementation, more than 1,000 vehicles were impounded, according to sources. Leading opposition lawmaker Waleed Al-Tabtabaei meanwhile alleged high-profile corruption in the whole affair over awarding the contract to a private company in a very suspicious way and called on the interior and finance ministers to investigate. This decision was strongly criticized by people and MPs as well.
More than one lawyer filed a case against the ministry for applying such a decision, seeing it in conflict with the constitution and that this penalty is not equal to the minor violation. After just 24 hours of applying this decision, news spread that the decision has been canceled, although no official statement has been issued.
Calls to the interior ministry’s public relations department by Kuwait Times were not immediately returned.
Local daily Al Anbaa said the decision was canceled by the Interior Ministry Undersecretary Lt Gen Mahmoud Al-Dossari. According to the daily, motorists committing these two violations will get a regular fine as it was in the past.
Vehicles that were impounded for these violations on the first day of the decision’s application will be returned from Sunday. According to a statement by the interior ministry, Dossari yesterday chaired a committee meeting held at its premises.
The meeting included representatives of 25 relevant government bodies who discussed measures to be followed in cases of emergencies. Dossari urged various teams to review and update their work plans at all times to avoid any shortcomings in cases of civil defense-related emergencies. He also urged the media to help reassure people at such times to prevent panic and provide maximum protection for them.
Tabtabaei, who on Wednesday sent questions to the interior minister over the issue, said that he has received information about suspected corruption. He said that in previous years, the contract was normally awarded to the Kuwait Public Transport Company for KD 250,000, alleging that this year, an employee at KPTC was bribed so that the company did not take part in the bid.
As a result, only one private company was left to bid for the contract and won it for just KD 100,000, way below the amount in previous years. Tabtabaei called on the ministers of interior and finance to launch an investigation into the allegations.
Reporting by Nawara Fattahova and B Izzak
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