Two members of Kuwait’s royal family, along with a number of other officials, are at risk of being targeted by United States sanctions, in the latest twist in the long-running saga over alleged fraud and embezzlement at Kuwaiti-owned investment vehicle The Port Fund.
The stakes are getting ever higher in the protracted dispute over alleged fraud at the investment fund
Further battles between the National Assembly and the executive beckon, as opposition MPs continue to raise concerns about corruption and mismanagement in ministries. Latest in the firing line are interior minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, who is being targeted for a grilling (official questioning) by MP Riyadh Al-Adasani over lax border controls, and health minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah, who MP Omar Al-Tabtabai wants to question over alleged corruption during the construction of the KD 179m ($589m) Sabah hospital.
Kuwait is to hold two by-elections after a Constitutional Court ruling which effectively revoked the membership of two opposition MPs in the National Assembly (parliament).
The Court of Cassation threw Kuwaiti politics into fresh turmoil on 8 July, by sentencing two current members of the National Assembly and six former MPs to jail terms of three and a half years for storming parliament in 2011.
After a decent performance in 2016, the difficulties for the economy look to be mounting once again
It has long been a very secretive organization, but lately there have been a few hints that the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the country’s huge sovereign wealth fund, is starting to open up a little. Whether it represents the start of a longer-term trend towards full transparency seems doubtful, but it is a welcome development nonetheless.
Kuwait made a splash with its debut in the international bond market in mid-March, raising $8 billion from regional and international investors following a five-day roadshow in London and three cities in the United States. Demand was high, with more than 778 orders totaling $29 billion, according to officials.
Saudi Arabia’s plan to create a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund has set an ambitious new standard for state-run investment vehicles. These funds are an increasingly common sight around the world, but particularly in the Middle East, where oil-rich governments like to squirrel away money when oil prices are high in preparation for leaner times. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWF Institute) lists 79 funds in its rankings, with 20 of them in the Middle East and North Africa.