former court chief in Jordan , Bassem Awadallah
Amman – Osama al Rantissi
A Jordanian courtroom saw a remarkable development in the casino case in the presence of former court chief in Jordan and the controversial character Bassem Awadallah as witnesses.
Former Minister of Justice Sharif al-Zoubi (step-brother of Queen Rania) was one of the witnesses,
while former Prime Minister Maarouf Bakhit missed the court session due to health problems.
Bassem Awadallah, the former Finance Minister and Chief of Royal Court of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan confessed he knew about the Dead Sea Casino case from the media after the Bakhit’s resignation in 2007. He claimed his innocence.
He denied being behind the idea of opening a Casino in the Dead Sea.
Former Minister of Justice Sharif al-Zoubi explained he was a legal consultant in the Casino project as the former PM Bakhit informed him about the government’s intention to establish a Casino in the Dead Sea asking for his legal advice.
Al-Zoubi said he studied the project from the legal and constitutional sides. He admitted to being against the project because establishing a casino is against Islamic law, as well as the law which states that gambling or working in this field is considered a criminal act. He added that according to the civil law, any gambling contract is invalid.
Al-Zoubi added that Bakhit asked him to use another legal expert and nominated al-Ain Taher Hekmat, head of the constitutional court, who agreed to al-Zoubi’s opinion.
Former Minister of Tourism, who is the first suspect in the case, Osama al-Dabbas was excited about the project and justified it by increasing the government’s revenues, giving the Israel Casino as an example, according to al-Zoubi.
According to Al-Zoubi, he criticised al-Dabbas’s opinion about the project, and said that it will only harm the country and the citizen.
Al-Dabbas has formerly accused Bakhit of excluding him and the Minister of Endowment from the cabinet session where the project was discussed.
Former PM Maarouf Bakhit had a health problem on Tuesday and was taken in the hospital.
He was supposed to present himself to Amman criminal court on Wednesday to testify in the Casino Case.