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Panel probing Dead Sea land deal closes meeting to other MPs

By Khaled Neimat - Mar 25,2014 - Last updated at Mar 25,2014

AMMAN — The Lower House’s Legal Committee on Tuesday rejected the participation of non-members in its ongoing meetings to investigate allegations of corruption against the head of the chamber’s Finance Committee.

The decision was taken a day after Abdul Munim Odat, head of the committee, announced that the meetings are “closed” and was met with displeasure by MPs who are not members of the legal panel. 

Deputy Motaz Abu Rumman issued a statement after he was denied entry to the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, saying the decision raises questions about the investigation. 

“Although I am member of the Integrity Committee in the Lower House, I was denied entry,” he said.

Abu Rumman was accompanied by Mustafa Rawashdeh, head of the Integrity Committee, when Odat denied them entry. 

The Legal Committee is investigating a suspected corruption case involving Deputy Mohammed Saudi, who tried to acquire a plot of state-owned land in the Dead Sea area at a cost below market price.

Saudi had called for referring the case to the relevant parliamentary committee to review and provide its recommendations.

The House decided to investigate the matter after Maha Khatib, the chief commissioner of the Development and Free Zones Commission (DFZC), submitted her resignation, reportedly accusing the government of exerting pressure on her to transfer ownership of the state-owned land to Saudi at a price less than the market rate.

Government officials have denied the allegations, saying “it was the DFZC that set the price for this land.”

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