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Gulf | Bahrain

Bahrain ministries' probe to continue

Two parliamentary panels investigating the health and information ministries for alleged irregularities have vowed to continue their probe, despite the exit of two ministers.

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 23:45 September 25, 2007
  • Gulf News

Manama: Two parliamentary panels investigating the health and information ministries for alleged irregularities have vowed to continue their probe, despite the exit of two ministers.

"We will continue our work and will draft our conclusions and remarks. We have until the end of this year and the change of the minister does not legally end the existence of the commission," Jassem Husain, a member of the commission investigating the health ministry, yesterday told Gulf News.

"We are confident that the new minister appreciates and respects the work of the commission and will be more willing to open all dossiers to help with the investigation," he said.

Information investigation panel spokesman, Kadhem Jameel, also pledged the continuation of the probe.

"The purpose of the commission is to ensure that our values and traditions are upheld. It is not linked with the minister, so his change does not affect our work and plans," he said in his statement. "The new minister is a colleague who was both at the lower and upper houses, so he appreciates the nature of our work."

Averting collision

The government, keen on averting collision with the parliament, has sought to defuse the increasing tension with deputies by replacing health minister Dr Nada Haffadh and information minister Dr Mohammad Abdul Gaffar involved in separate investigations launched in April by the Council of Representatives.

Dr Haffadh last week waded into un-chartered waters by telling the media that she had tendered her resignation in April upon the formation of the parliamentary commission to probe alleged administrative mismanagement and repeated medical errors.

The row between the minister, a former member of the upper house who in 2004 became the first Bahraini woman to join the government, and the investigation commission, led by Mohammad Al Mezel, one of the most vociferous deputies representing Al Wefaq, escalated after she accused him of unduly usurping his prerogatives and undermining the ministry's achievements.

The health portfolio will now be assumed by Dr Faisal Al Hamar, the former dean of the Health Sciences College who hold degrees from Egypt, US, and Britain.

Replaced

Outgoing information minister Abdul Gaffar, who formerly held the positions of ambassador to the US and state minister for foreign affairs, will be replaced by a businessman, Jihad Bu Kamal, a 48-year-old member of the upper house who was in 2002 elected to the Council of Representatives.

Abdul Gaffar was being investigated by a parliamentary commission for an alleged sleazy show performed by a Lebanese troupe at the Spring Culture Festival.

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