7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

MPs furious in quizzing row

MPs are furious that their decision to question Bahrain's Finance Minister about financial violations was deemed "invalid".

They voted last month to quiz Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa on parliament's open floor about financial irregularities documented in the Financial Audit Bureau report.

However, the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission on Wednesday ruled that proper voting procedures were not followed.

It means MPs will have to vote once again during their session on Tuesday.

Thirteen MPs voted in favour of publicly quizzing Shaikh Ahmed, while 11 voted against and three abstained.

Under normal rules the vote would not count since most of the 27 MPs present at the session on March 10 did not support it.

However, parliament's chief legal consultant Dr Saleh Al Ghateeth claimed the vote was valid - citing constitutional amendments.

MP Ali Shamtoot yesterday withdrew his name from the list of 10 legislators demanding the questioning to go ahead.

However, only five are needed to proceed.

He claimed there was no point because the rest of his colleagues were not "serious" about the issue.

His comments were made during an urgent parliamentary meeting to discuss the commission's ruling.

"Parliament will now have to vote again and we are obliged to follow the commission's ruling," said parliament first vice-chairman Abdulla Al Dossary.

"The issue is at the top of Tuesday's schedule."

MP Ahmed Qaratta claimed the commission's decision, which overrules parliament's vote, has made legislators a "laughing stock".

"We were on our way to make history but it seems history will have to wait because the government has managed, as usual, to get a ruling in its favour from a so-called independent body," he told the GDN.

"Unfortunately MPs have supported the government's request rather than listening to our own legal support panel.

"They will become a laughing stock as many are now thinking of rejecting questioning the minister."

The GDN reported last month that the Cabinet contested the decision to question the minister and sought parliament's consent to refer the matter to the commission for ruling. The move led to five legislators storming out of last week's parliament session. [email protected]

click on image to view the digital edition