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Anti-corruption chief: PLO, PA officials under investigation

Several top-ranking Palestinian officials are under investigation by the Palestinian Authority anti-corruption commission, the head of the anti-graft body said this week.

Rafiq al-Natsheh confirmed PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki faces an inquiry by the commission. He declined to comment on the accusations against al-Malki, in comments on Ma’an TV program More Than a Question, to be broadcast Saturday night.

Head of the PA parliament’s oversight committee Majed Abu Shamala referred the foreign minister to the corruption commission in April after he failed to respond to summons by the legislative committee for two years, broadcaster Al Jazeera reported at the time.

Abu Shamala said his committee had examined several charges against al-Malki, including issuing passports to ineligible individuals, and financial and administrative irregularities at his ministry.

Al-Natsheh told Ma’an that in addition to al-Malki, a member of the PLO executive committee, and a member of the Fatah central committee, are being investigated by the anti-corruption commission. Citing due process, he declined to provide their names.

The commission chief assured that he would be able to bring back every penny stolen from the Palestinian people.

Securing international arrests warrants for suspects residing abroad would soon by possible, he said, without elaborating.

Interpol is currently refusing to cooperate with Palestinian prosecutors to summon a former presidential economic adviser to the West Bank to answer corruption charges, the attorney-general said last month.

Ahmad al-Mughni said he had asked Interpol to help track down Muhammad Rashid, but it would not help because Palestine is not a recognized state. If Palestine was a member of the UN it would be easier to bring suspects in front of the Palestinian judiciary, he said.

Three PA government ministers facing corruption probes by Natsheh’s commission — Minister of Agriculture Ismail Daiq, Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh and Health Minister Fathi Abu Moghli — were replaced in a reshuffle last month.

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