Palestinians trying to avoid PA graft probe

By
January 4, 2012 04:29

Fearing clampdown by anti-corruption commission, Palestinians emptying bank accounts in Jordan to avoid PA graft probe.

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Money under the table [illustrative]

money under the table corruption 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

Fearing a clampdown by the Palestinian Authority’s Anti-Corruption Commission, many Palestinians have begun transferring their deposits from Jordanian banks to accounts in Western countries, the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour reported on Monday.

The commission has waged a campaign to restore stolen funds from former PA officials suspected of involvement in financial corruption and embezzlement, the newspaper said.

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A large number of Palestinian officials have resigned after being asked to sign a quittance detailing their finances and property, according to the report.

The commission is currently investigating 145 cases of financial corruption, but only 13 have been referred to court, the newspaper said.

Two PA ministers were recently charged with corruption and are now awaiting trial. They are Economics Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh and Agriculture Minister Ismail Daiq.

The anti-corruption commission is facing difficulties in investigating four ministers and a top Palestinian security official, who are all suspected of involvement in large-scale financial corruption, the Jordanian newspaper said.

Another obstacle facing the commission is the fact that many suspects have deposited large sums in Israeli banks, the report added.

The PLO, meanwhile, has formed a special committee to try to restore PLO-owned property in several countries whose fate remains unknown.

The chairman of the commission, Rafik Natsheh, said the body was working to restore public funds stashed aboard by Palestinian officials.

He told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency his commission would ask some countries to help restore the stolen public money.

“Transferring money anywhere [abroad] will not prevent us from calling suspects to account and restoring that money,” Natsheh said. “Any money gained illegally must be returned.”


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