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Jordan Parliament to Discuss Corruption Charges against PM

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TEHRAN, July 26 (ICANA) – Jordan’s lower house of Parliament will debate financial corruption charges against Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit next Sunday.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 11:47:51 PM
Jordan Parliament to Discuss Corruption Charges against PM

According to Abu Dhabi based Al-Ittihad daily, the Jordanian parliament will start debate on the charges under the so-called "casino deal" which originated during his first government in 2007.

The parliament last month voted to clear Prime Minister Bakhit of suspected corruption but voted to implicate former Tourism Minister Osama Dabbas in the run-up for impeaching him by a parliamentary panel.

Scores of the MPs withdrew from the session to protest the failure to implicate Bakhit, prompting Speaker Faisal Fayez to adjourn the debate.

Under the 2007 casino agreement, Bakhit’s first government authorized a London-based investor to build a casino on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

But, one week after approving the deal, officials in charge decided to put the brakes on the agreement until further notice.

The government of Nader Dahabi, who succeeded Bakhit as prime minister, announced in 2008 that his Cabinet had renegotiated the deal to spare the treasury 2 billion dollars in fines for the annulment of the original accord which he said was injurious to the Jordanian interests.

The House of Representatives held a special session last month to discuss the findings of an ad hoc committee that was formed earlier this year to probe any wrongdoings in the casino deal.

The panel, which was chaired by a lawmaker, accused at least 17 ministers of Bakhit’s first Cabinet, including the premier, of “abuse of power.”

Bakhit defended himself during the debate, denying he was involved an exploitation of power in the casino deal that sparked a series of demonstrations across the country over the past few weeks.

The country’s watchdog, the Anti-Corruption Commission, started a probe into the case recently but later referred the file to the Parliament, saying it was the only entity authorized to impeach ministers according to the constitution.

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