Jordan Times has reported that a corruption case will be announced within the next week. Could it involve Bassem Awadallah? I have heard from multiple people that he may finally be charged with corruption. The notorious former planning minister has been accused for years of stealing millions from the government.
It is worth noting that Bassem Awadallah’s father was close to the late King Hussein and Bassem is also close to King Abdullah. These rumors that Awadallah will be prosecuted come as the people have demanded that corruption in Jordan come to an end. First King Abdullah arrested Dahabi and now potentially Bassem Awadallah in an attempt to alleviate the concerns of the people regarding corruption at the highest levels of the regime.
This is not the first time that it has been said that Awadallah would be prosecuted. Indeed, reports of corruption and other indiscretions have surrounded Awadallah for some time. In March 2012, a committee investigating the privatization of the national phosphate company recommended prosecuting Bassem Awadallah along with former Prime Minister Mahrouf Bakhit, but no action was taken against him.
His personal life has also been the subject of much negative scrutiny. His home in Jordan, which is said to be valued at $4 million is one of the nation’s largest but he does not even live in it. He was reported to have severely beaten his wife of four months in 2009, leading her to file for divorce. When his mother died he held a funeral that was one of the largest in Jordan. There have also been incidents involving members of his family, including his father.
What is important to realize here is that prosecuting individuals, whether they are Mohammed Dahabi, Bassem Awadallah, or others makes little difference if the fundamental political culture remains the same. Otherwise things like this could become yet more attempts by the regime to make it appears that reform is happening while in fact nothing is going on.