'I have bought my cemetery plot'

PA graft-buster tells Post he expects to be killed for role exposing corruption, scandals.

January 31, 2010 04:33
2 minute read.
A relative of Fahmi Shabaneh sits next to still-li

fahmi shabaneh grave 311. (photo credit: Abu Yusef)


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Fahmi Shabaneh, the senior Palestinian Authority intelligence official who gave an exclusive interview to The Jerusalem Post last week in which he warned that rampant corruption in the PA is likely to result in Hamas taking over the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, says he has prepared his own grave because he expects to be killed for his role in exposing financial and administrative corruption and sexual scandals.

“I paid $3,000 to purchase the grave,” Shabaneh told the Post over the weekend. “I also ordered a gravestone carrying my name. All I have to do now is add the date of death.”

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Until recently, Shabaneh was head of the anti-corruption unit in the PA’s General Intelligence Service (GIS). He said that he and his men succeeded in exposing dozens of cases of financial, administrative and sexual corruption involving senior PA and Fatah officials.

“For many years I worked as a lawyer and I used to help people even without money,” he said when questioned about the reason behind his decision to purchase his own grave. “When the Palestinian Authority came [after the signing of the Oslo Accords] I left my work as a lawyer and went to work with them. I wanted to help build a state of law and order, one where there is no room for corruption.”

Shabaneh said that in his capacity as head of the anti-corruption unit, he succeeded in returning millions of dollars to the PA’s Ministry of Finance.

“I agreed to take the job because I believed in creating good government,” he said. “I worked day and night to pursue many cases involving theft of lands and public funds. Because of the nature of my work, I received many threats, but I was never scared, because I always believed in my mission and also because I’m from a large clan that provides me with protection.”

Shabaneh, 49, said he has always been aware of the risks, and all the more so since he chose to speak out through the Post.

“After the interview was published, I gathered my wife and five children and told them to expect the worst,” he said. “I told them that I have chosen this path and I have no regrets. I bought the grave to make matters easier for my family if and when I’m killed. I even bought the gravestone with my name on it and told my children and wife that all they would have to do now is just add the date of my death.”

Shabaneh told the Post that in the coming days he plans to expose “new cases of corruption” in the PA that will “shock the Palestinians and the international community.”

“Even [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas won’t be able to deny the facts when he sees and hears what I have to reveal,” he said. “Everyone should know that many of the senior officials who came from Tunis after the Oslo Accords now have millions of dollars, and palaces.”

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