By John Lee.

Kuwait will reportedly fund the reconstruction of a major border crossing with Iraq.

According to Anadolu Agency, Iraq’s Border Crossing Authority said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two countries to prepare the infrastructure for the crossing at Safwan.

(Source: Anadolu Agency)

By John Lee.

Kuwait’s Qualitynet is reported to have been granted a licence to provide internet, telecommunications and satellite services in Iraq.

According to CommsMEA, the move makes it the first Kuwaiti telecommunications service provider to win a service licence in the country.

Said Qualitynet CEO Mohammed Nizar Al-Nusif is quoted as saying:

Winning this licence comes after an extensive study of the needs of the Iraqi market, the estimation of investment volumes and feasibility studies for the establishment of infrastructure, and will complement our strategic plan for regional and international expansion.

“Our experts are currently working on deploying the network and infrastructure to provide our services to our customer base across Iraq, and to provide the network with point-of-presence devices through Qualitynet Iraq, for which it was officially established.

(Source: CommsMEA)

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Kuwait Energy has announces that the Royal Court of Jersey has approved the acquisition of the company by Gold Cheers Corporation Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Energy Group Limited (UEG), by means of a scheme of arrangement.

The consideration to be paid under the transaction will be US$477,248,630.20 which equates to a per share price of US$1.46400797821.

Completion of the acquisition remains subject to delivery of the Act of Court sanctioning the Scheme to the Registrar of Companies in Jersey. This is expected to occur on or before 22 March 2019 (the “Effective Date”), at which time the Scheme will become effective.

Payments to shareholders should be dispatched within 14 days of the Effective Date, as detailed in the scheme document dated 15 November 2018 relating to the Scheme.

In Iraq, Kuwait Energy has interests in the Mansuriya, Siba, and Block 9 fields.

(Source: Kuwait Energy)

Kuwait Energy has announces that the Royal Court of Jersey has approved the acquisition of the company by Gold Cheers Corporation Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Energy Group Limited (UEG), by means of a scheme of arrangement.

The consideration to be paid under the transaction will be US$477,248,630.20 which equates to a per share price of US$1.46400797821.

Completion of the acquisition remains subject to delivery of the Act of Court sanctioning the Scheme to the Registrar of Companies in Jersey. This is expected to occur on or before 22 March 2019 (the “Effective Date”), at which time the Scheme will become effective.

Payments to shareholders should be dispatched within 14 days of the Effective Date, as detailed in the scheme document dated 15 November 2018 relating to the Scheme.

In Iraq, Kuwait Energy has interests in the Mansuriya, Siba, and Block 9 fields.

(Source: Kuwait Energy)

By John Lee.

Kuwait is reportedly planning to build towns close to the Iraqi border, and talking with Iraqi authorities to develop a “free zone” between the two countries.

According to Kuna, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah (pictured) said the plan was currently “the preoccupation and focal task” of the government and the Supreme Planning Council.

He added that Kuwait’s planned Madinat Al Harir (Silk City) is expected to attract between $400- and $650-billion in investment over 25 years.

(Source: Kuna)

A former business partner of a U.S. military contractor was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a years-long scheme to bribe U.S. Army contracting officials stationed at a U.S. military base in Kuwait during the Iraq War.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.

Finbar Charles, 62, a citizen of Saint Lucia most recently residing in Baguio City, Philippines, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre of the Northern District of Alabama.  Chief Judge Bowdre also ordered Charles to forfeit $228,558 in illicit gains.  Charles pleaded guilty in July 2018 to one count of bribery of a federal official.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Charles was a business partner of a former U.S. military contractor, Terry Hall.  As Hall’s business partner, Charles admitted that he facilitated Hall and others in providing millions of dollars in bribes in approximately 2005 to 2007 to various U.S. Army officials in exchange for preferential treatment for Hall’s companies in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) contracts to deliver bottled water and construct security fencing to support U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait and Iraq.

As part of his role in this criminal conspiracy, Charles admitted that he managed bank accounts in Kuwait and the Philippines that he used to receive Department of Defense payments and transfer illegal bribes to various U.S. Army contracting officials, including Majors Eddie Pressley, James Momon, and Chris Murray.

All of those individuals, as well as at least 10 other coconspirators, have pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes relating to this scheme.  Charles admitted that he falsified loan and consulting agreements to conceal the true nature of the bribe payments to the Army officers, and that he personally received over $228,000 in illicit gains as a result of his participation.

This case was investigated by the DCIS, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the FBI and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Peter N. Halpern and Robert J. Heberle of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) warmly welcomes the repatriation of a consignment of located Kuwaiti property to the Kuwaiti authorities in a handover that took place in Kuwait City today and was observed by the United Nations.

“This is an encouraging positive step taken by the Iraqi authorities in compliance with UN Security Council resolution 2107 (2013). It shows the determination of both countries to forge ahead with strengthening bilateral ties, putting behind them the bitter legacy of invasion and violence, and demonstrates the best of good neighbourly relations,” said Ms. Alice Walpole, Deputy Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General.

Preparations for the transfer of the Kuwaiti textbooks and other items have taken over a year. H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq Mohammed Al-Hakim has made exceptional efforts to ensure swift action on this important and complex file of outstanding issues with Kuwait since taking office a few weeks ago.

UNAMI has been actively involved with Iraq and Kuwait as an observer in facilitating the efforts for a resolution of the outstanding issues. While UNAMI commends the Iraqi movement on the missing property file and their commitment to resolve all remaining outstanding issues with Kuwait the UN Mission recognises that the search must continue for the invaluable National Archives of Kuwait.

Despite strong support demonstrated by Kuwait, and commitment to their international and humanitarian obligation shown by Iraq, full normalization of relations will only take place once all outstanding issues have been resolved, the Deputy Special Representative said.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Kuwait reportedly expects to reach agreement with Iraq on joint oil fields and the import of Iraqi gas by the end of this year.

KUNA quotes Kuwait’s Oil Minister and Minister of Electricity and Water Engineer, Bakheet Al-Rashidi, as saying:

“We are in the process of selecting a global consultant to study the joint fields project.”

(Source: KUNA)

By John Lee.

Talks are reportedly continuing to complete the electricity linkage between Iraq and Kuwait.

KUNA quotes Kuwait’s Oil Minister and Minister of Electricity and Water Engineer, Bakheet Al-Rashidi (pictured), as saying:

We expect that these negotiations will ultimately lead to linking Iraq’s electricity grid with the Gulf network and then link with Turkey and Europe on the long-term.

“We are always ready to help our brothers in Iraq, according to the instructions of the political leadership.”

(Source: KUNA)

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] (pictured) as ordered Iraq’s state-owned oil companies to devise an urgent plan to develop the Mansuriyah (Mansouriya) gas field, following what he described as the delay and the failure of foreign companies to start developing the field.

The field, in Diyala province, was awarded in the third licensing round in 2010 to a consortium of international oil companies consisting of: Turkey’s TPAO (37.5%), Iraq’s Oil Exploration Company (25%), Kuwait Energy (KEC) (22.5%), and the Korean Gas Corporation (Kogas) (15%).

It holds around 127 billion cubic metres of gas. They committed to produce 320 million standard cubic feet of gas a day for $7 per barrel of oil equivalent produced, the maximum the government would agree to pay.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)