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Abu Hamdan, Aqbani sentenced to 3 years in Disi project case

By Khaled Neimat - Jan 24,2013 - Last updated at Jan 24,2013

AMMAN — The State Security Court (SSC) on Thursday sentenced two former officials to three years in prison for abuse of public office.

Former director of the Development Investment Projects Fund Akram Abu Hamdan and its financial adviser Ziyad Aqbani entered a guilty plea last week.

The two men have been in custody for almost two years after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found evidence of corruption in the feasibility study of the Disi Water Conveyance Project, which was managed and conducted by the DIP Fund.

They had been in prison without trial since April 2011, but this time will count towards their sentence, according to an official who declined to be named.

Abu Hamdan signed a contract with Invest Corp. Securities Ltd. to conduct the feasibility study at a cost of $1,950,000 and to supervise the project’s funding for $60 million.

When the company, which reportedly turned out to be a middleman for other companies, submitted its financial claims, it requested that the money be deposited in a Swiss bank account in the name of the Luxembourg-based Shahin Business and Investment Group, owned by convicted businessman Khaled Shahin, who is currently serving time for bribery and corruption in another case.

After consulting with financial experts, the ACC came to the conclusion that the rates were exaggerated and unreasonable.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the SSC reached an agreement with Shahin in this case last year, under which he paid back millions of dinars to the Treasury in return for settling the case out of court.

The sources said that authorities agreed to this deal as they believed it would best serve the interests of the country.

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