Three Jordanian lawmakers resign over casino scandal

June 30th, 2011 - 6:18 am ICT by BNO News  

AMMAN (BNO NEWS) — Three members of Jordan’s lower house of Parliament resigned on Wednesday over the House’s decision to acquit Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit of implication in the high-profile Dead Sea Casino corruption case.

Ammon News reported that Member of Parliament Wasfi Rawashdeh announced his resignation immediately following the parliamentary session on Monday, in which the House voted against the indictment of Bakhit, but voted in favor of implicating former Minister of Tourism Osama Dabbas.

Deputy Shayesh Khreisha and MP Khalil Attiyah submitted his resignation on Wednesday. Attiyah headed the parliamentary ad-hoc committee that investigated the defunct Dead Sea Casino deal, and referred 33 current and former officials, including 21 ministers, to the House for deliberation on possible indictment.

“This is the first time since I entered the Parliament that I’ve slept with a clear conscience,” Khreisha said.

In 2007, Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s first government authorized the building of a casino on the eastern shores of the Dead Sea by a London-based investor. The deal was later renegotiated and annulled by Prime Minister Nader Dahabi’s government, saving the Jordanian treasury over $1.4 billion in fines.

The case sparked protests across the country over the past weeks, with Jordanians demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s government for its failure to carry out political reforms and combat corruption.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II approved a new 27-member cabinet early February after protesters called for the resignation of then-current prime minister Samir Rifai and his government. The previous government was blamed for price hikes, excessive taxation, unemployment, and difficult economic conditions.

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