House committees to investigate corruption, fraud cases

Jordan times

House committees to investigate corruption, fraud cases

Nov 24, 2011 | 00:00 Updated: Feb 14, 2012 | 12:39

By Raed Omari

AMMAN – The Lower House on Wednesday tasked its permanent office with forming committees to investigate two cases upon a request by a majority of MPs.

During yesterday’s session, Lower House Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi authorised the permanent office to name deputies to begin an inquiry into allegations of corruption in the “Decent Housing for Decent Living” initiative.

In June, former premier Marouf Bakhit referred all documents related to the initiative to the Chamber of Deputies after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) finalised its probe into the case in February, implicating former ministers, senior officials and contractors.

The nearly JD5 billion project, launched by His Majesty King Abdullah in February 2008, was supposed to see more than 120,000 “affordable” housing units built for Jordanians with low and limited income, but the plan stalled amid rumours of corruption before Bakhit referred the file to the ACC in February.

The House also decided to form a committee to look into the issue of reimbursing victims of brokerage firms involved in large-scale fraud cases in 2008, in response to a petition signed by 20 deputies.

A total 256 brokerage houses were referred to the State Security Court between September 7, 2008 and January 1, 2009, and more than 400,000 complaints were filed against these firms by 117,000 citizens from all walks of life who were affected by the scams.

In addition, a majority of MPs voted to refer the 2011 Crime Prevention Law to the Legal Committee for review.

Meanwhile, the Higher Council for the Interpretation of the Constitution (HCIC) ruled on Tuesday, that the by-election to fill the vacant seat of MP Sharif Rawashdeh (Karak, 5th District), whose membership in the House was cancelled because he held dual citizenship, “has to be conducted according to the temporary 2010 elections law”.

In its verdict, which was issued upon the government’s request, the HCIC ruled that as a law governing the projected independent commission to oversee parliamentary elections has not yet been enacted, the by-election has to be conducted based on the law under which the 16th Parliament was elected.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Rakan Majali, in recent remarks to The Jordan Times, anticipated the HCIC’s decision, saying that the by-elections will be conducted regardless of the establishment of the projected commission, because Rawashdeh was a member of the 16th Parliament, which was elected when there was no such entity.

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