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Anti-corruption chief: Officials in Palestine aided Rashid fraud

Dec. 10, 2012 10:30 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 10, 2012 9:55 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian anti-corruption commission is readying to institute legal proceedings against Palestinian officials on suspicion of embezzling millions of dollars, the chief of the commission says.

Rafiq al-Natsheh told Ma’an Sunday evening that secret investigations were ongoing in an attempt to expose embezzlement amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

He said the commission was investigating officials living in Palestine who are suspected of complicity with Muhammad Rashid, an adviser to late President Yasser Araft.

Muhammad Rashid was sentenced in June to 15 years in prison and ordered to return $15 million stolen from public funds. His whereabouts are unknown.

The complicity of officials in Palestine will be a much bigger case than the Rashid file, Natsheh said.

Separately, he said the commission was bringing charges against an employee at a Palestinian ministry suspected of fabricating staff members to collect their salaries. The scheme is said to have embezzled 700,000 shekels ($170,000) to date, he said.
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