Palestinian Minister of National Economy Abu Libdeh (R) 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian)
PA Minister of Economy Hasan Abu Libdeh will stand trial for financial
corruption, the Palestinian Authority’s prosecutor-general announced
According to the charge sheet submitted to a PA court in
Ramallah, Abu Libdeh is accused of breach of trust, fraud, insider trading and
embezzlement of public funds.
PA union chair accuses Fayyad of squandering public funds
The charges relate to the period when Abu
Libdeh was chairman of the PA’s Capital Market Authority in 2008.
minister denied the charges as rumors and fabrications.
He said he was
being targeted for political reasons – especially because of the campaign that
he has been leading to boycott settlement products.
Abu Libdeh is the
second minister in the government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to face
serious corruption charges.
Earlier this year, PA Minister of Agriculture
Ismail Daiq was also charged with corruption and is awaiting trial.
third member of the Fayyad government, Minister of Labor Ahmad Majdalani, is
under attack for calling Palestinian workers “brothers of whores” during a radio
interview last week. The Palestinian Workers’ Union has called on Fayyad to fire
Majdalani or face a general strike and street protests.
about the decision to press charges against him, Abu Libdeh immediately
announced that he was suspending his membership in the government for the sake
of clearing his name in court.
But the PA prosecutor-general, Ahmed
Mughni, said that the law does not allow a minister to voluntarily suspend
He said that only the prime minister or the government had the
authority to suspend a minister for any reason.
Mughni said he wrote a
letter to Fayyad asking him to suspend Abu Libdeh until the end of the court
Abu Libdeh said he learned from the media about the decision
to bring him to trial.
He said that he is the victim of a smear campaign
designed to defame him and his work.
“For the past 40 years, I have
contributed to building the homeland for all Palestinians,” Abu Libdeh said. “I
tried to be the loyal soldier in the battle to defend our cause and spent time
behind bars and under house arrest. But some don’t want to see success and can’t
live with it. I’m fed up with ongoing attempts to defame me and my record.”