Kuwait Defence Ministry to co-operate with parliamentary probe into military deals

Country ordered European fighter jets and helicopters in deals worth nearly $10 billion

Kuwait ordered the 28 Eurofighter Typhoon jets valued at about $8.7 billion from a consortium of European companies in 2016. EPA
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Kuwait’s Defence Ministry has said it will co-operate with a parliamentary investigation into alleged corruption in two multi-billion dollar deals.

The National Assembly on Wednesday announced the formation of a panel to investigate the ministry’s $8.7 billion deal to purchase Eurofighter warplanes and another $1 billion deal to buy 30 Caracal military helicopters from Airbus.

“The ministry affirms the necessity of co-operation between the ministry and the National Assembly to ponder any issues and that such co-ordination falls within the parliament jurisdiction and is warranted for serving public interest,” said Minister of Defence Sheikh Abdullah Al Sabah.

Kuwait’s government in January referred two senior military officers for prosecution over the Eurofighter deal after an investigation revealed that the price of the jets was improperly inflated.

Kuwait ordered 28 Eurofighter Typhoon jets valued at about $8.7 billion from a consortium of European companies in 2016.

Investigations revealed that the officers “caused grave damage to public money by issuing inflated bills to the manufacturer that exceeded the total value agreed upon in the main contract”, the official Kuwait News Agency reported at the time.

Authorities said an unnamed whistleblower helped the government to obtain information about the misuse of funds.

The purchase of 30 Caracal helicopters for $1.19 billion, also agreed in 2016, has been under investigation in Kuwait for several years after a report alleged that a Lebanese middleman demanded commission of $71 million from Airbus in connection with the deal.

MPs also agreed to launch an investigation into alleged corruption in the so-called Army Fund case, in which a former prime minister and defence minister are accused of embezzling $790 million from a military aid fund several years ago.

Updated: December 15, 2022, 12:54 PM