Bahraini minister evades municipal council quizzing
Manama, March 13, 2014
Councillors in Manama yesterday suspended their meetings indefinitely after a top government minister failed to show up for questioning.
Manama Municipal Council members claim Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi was in the same building as them, but "deliberately" stayed away, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They were due to question him about delays in several projects including the reclassification of Nabih Saleh, the rezoning of Hoora and Gudaibiya and housing projects on hold for more than four years in the governorate.
The council complained against Dr Al Ka'abi to the Cabinet two weeks ago, but decided to give him another chance.
They sent an official summoning request on March 3, which was received by the minister's office.
The council's secretariat-general made special arrangements for yesterday's meeting, including setting up a special name tag for Dr Al Ka'abi and even ordering a cake for him.
"The minister didn't apologise or ask for a postponement, he just doesn't care about the council or what it means to the public," said council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri.
"We invited him several times, but his incompetence, which is clear to everyone, meant that he disregarded our requests."
The council will hold a press conference on Saturday at its headquarters in Zinj to reveal documents showing violations committed by the minister.
"All of the documents and evidence we have will be presented to the Cabinet because the magnitude of damage to people is huge and requires immediate intervention," said Al Jazeeri.
"The indefinite suspension means that our meetings will not take place until the end of the term, which is June 30 - unless the Cabinet intervenes."
Al Jazeeri also demanded the appointment of another "qualified" minister.
"This minister is the reason a lot of the projects that were supposed to be carried out have been stalled," he said.
"We have a lot of pending issues like the reclassification of Nabih Saleh to allow thousands of families waiting for two decades to build their dream homes, and the rezoning of Hoora and Gudaibiya after a temporary ban imposed by the Cabinet has expired.
"No private plot of land has been purchased in the Capital Governorate under the minister's reign, in addition to housing projects being stalled for more than four years, while plans for jetties are just blueprints without actual work."
Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor said the minister's office told him earlier in the morning that Dr Al Ka'abi was in the building.
"I came early as usual to check on arrangements for the meeting and I asked if he was here, they told me he was. I thought he would show up, but he didn't," he said.
"Someone from his office told me that he will deputise a senior official, but no one came."
The minister was unavailable for comment when contacted by the GDN yesterday. - TradeArabia News Service