PA issues arrest warrant for Shabaneh

Comes after former anti-corruption official's ultimatum to clean up ranks.

By BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH
February 10, 2010 12:17
2 minute read.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas

abbas pointing finger 311 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant against former top PA anti-corruption official Fahmi Shabaneh, ironically, on charges of corruption and undermining the PA.

It comes a day after Shabaneh issued an ultimatum to PA President Mahmoud Abbas to remove the corrupt officials in the Palestinian leader's office within two weeks or he will expose more cases of corruption that "would seriously embarrass the PA and even harm its relations with Arab and Muslim countries as well as donors."

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Wednesday's arrest warrant was signed by the PA prosecutor general, who also accused Shabaneh of involvement in selling land to Jews. However, Shabaneh is a resident of Jerusalem, where the PA does not have the power to make arrests. 

According to Shabaneh, the material he will expose is far more severe than what had been published so far.

Earlier Wednesday, the PA published a statement saying that Shabaneh's allegations were part of an Israeli conspiracy aimed at undermining Abbas because of his refusal to return to the negotiation table unconditionally.

Last month, The Jerusalem Post ran an exclusive interview with Shabaneh, who until recently was in charge of the Anti-Corruption Department in the PA’s General Intelligence Service (GIS), who warned that what happened in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, when Hamas managed to overthrow the Fatah-controlled regime, is likely to recur in the West Bank.

“Had it not been for the presence of the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, Hamas would have done what they did in the Gaza Strip,” Shabaneh told the Post. “It’s hard to find people in the West Bank who support the Palestinian Authority. People are fed up with the financial corruption and mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority.”



"I have bought my cemetery plot," says Shabaneh

Shabaneh said that many Palestinians in the West Bank have lost hope that the PA would one day be reformed. “The Palestinian Authority is very corrupt and needs to be overhauled,” he said.

Shabaneh cited several specific cases of alleged corruption within Fatah and the PA in the course of the interview, including asserting that Fatah personnel stole much of a $3.2 million donation given by the US to Fatah ahead of the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, won by Hamas, which had been intended to improve Fatah’s image and boost its chances of winning.

Shabaneh, a resident of east Jerusalem who worked as a lawyer before joining the GIS as its legal adviser after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, said he was forced to quit his anti-corruption job several months ago after exposing a sex scandal involving one of Abbas’s top aides in Ramallah in 2009.

Video footage and other documents presented to the Post by Shabaneh show the aide lying naked in bed after being lured to an apartment in Ramallah by an east Jerusalem woman.

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