Friday, April 27, 2012

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Referred to Anti-Corruption Commission, Misused Diplomatic Passports

Challah Hu Akbar The other day I reported that the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was facing corruption allegations. At the time, I said that I was “skeptical.” I am far less skeptical now, as I have seen a few more reports recently, including this thorough one from PalToday. Palestinian parliamentary sources confirmed to PalToday that Riyad al-Malki has been referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission, following his refusal to appear before a parliamentary oversight committee on issues relating to corruption and failure in his ministry. Al-Maliki is the third government minister to be referred to the commission recently. In November 2011, PA Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh was charged with corruption. In August 2011, Agriculture Minister Ismail Daiq was also charged with corruption. Fatah’s Majed Abu Shamala has revealed that the case against al-Maliki centers on the misuse of diplomatic passports, specifically the issuing of passports to those who do not deserve them. Al-Maliki will also face charges that Palestinian missions around the world have failed to properly aid Palestinians living in those countries. Additionally, there are charges related to financial misuse by the foreign ministry. Related to all this is the fact that Yousef al-Shayeb, one of the journalists detained by the Palestinian Authority in March, had written extensively on corruption within the PA foreign ministry, specifically naming al-Maliki. Following the detention of Shayeb, al-Maliki said that he was "surprised some journalists reacted emotionally on behalf of their colleague without hearing the other side's case, or considering for a moment if Yousef al-Shayeb is the oppressor or the oppressed.” Maliki charged that “Shayeb must be expelled from the their [the journalists] ranks.” In addition, he said that the truth will emerge and that if he is found guilty then Shayeb will be punished. It now appears that the truth will emerge, and it may be al-Maliki who will be receiving the punishment.

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