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Kuwait MPs order probes of Airbus deal, power plant

Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday ordered probes into a $2.5 billion (1.8 billion euro) power plant contract and a deal with Airbus to purchase 25 aircraft and lease 12 others.

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday ordered probes into a $2.5 billion (1.8 billion euro) power plant contract and a deal with Airbus to purchase 25 aircraft and lease 12 others.

Twenty-one MPs out of 36 present approved a proposal to ask the parliament's legal committee to investigate "all deals" being undertaken by state-owned Kuwait Airways Company (KAC).

MP Adnan Abdulsamad said the probe is "necessary amid reports that the KAC board has turned down cheaper offers," without providing further details.

In December, KAC signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to buy 25 planes and lease 12, with an option to purchase 10 more. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

KAC officials have said the airline has obtained the necessary authorisation from the government.

The agreement includes the purchase of 15 A320neo and 10 A350-900 planes with the option to buy 10 more, five from each category, to be delivered in 2019 and 2020.

The final contract for the deal, the first plane order by KAC in more than 20 years, has not yet been signed.

Parliament also voted to form a special committee to probe allegations of irregularities in awarding the contract for Al-Zour North Power Plant project.

A consortium comprising Japan's Sumitomo, France's GDF Suez and Kuwait's Abdullah Hamad Al-Sagar and Brothers won the contract.

Kuwait's parliament launched a similar probe last February, but the legislature was dismissed by the constitutional court before the investigation was concluded and fresh elections were held.

The winning consortium signed the final contract with the government in December and construction work has begun.

The consortium awarded South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries the contract to construct the power plant and tasked French firm Sidem with building the desalination facility.

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