Kuwait lawmakers set up probes into graft, torture

MPs have powers to set up commissions of inquiry

KUWAIT CITY - The Kuwaiti parliament voted on Wednesday to set up probes into allegations of corruption, smuggling and torture, the state KUNA news agency reported.
Members of the new opposition-dominated parliament agreed to set up two commissions of inquiry into allegations of corruption relating to members of the previous parliament, KUNA said.
Former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a member of the Gulf emirate's ruling family, is accused of having transferred hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds into private accounts he held abroad.
Late last month, Kuwait's public attorney asked a special judicial tribunal to probe allegations against the former premier as the government asked the Audit Bureau, the state's accounting watchdog, to examine the alleged transfers.
The allegations sparked the collapse of the last government and the dissolution of parliament in November, paving the way for a February general election which the opposition won.
A third parliamentary panel will investigate "everything related to smuggling diesel," while a fourth will probe a controversial contract between the state-owned Kuwait Oil Co. and Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, KUNA said.
Two other panels will probe alleged "violations" against people held in police custody and the enforcement of broadcasting laws.
Kuwaiti MPs have the powers to set up parliamentary commissions of inquiry without having to secure government approval.