Prosecution witnesses testify in Dahabi case | Editor's Choice | Ammon News

Prosecution witnesses testify in Dahabi case

[6/20/2012 12:00:00 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Amman Criminal Court on Tuesday listened to the testimonies of five prosecution witnesses in the case of former General Intelligence Department (GID) chief Mohammed Dahabi.

Last week, Dahabi pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement, money laundering and exploitation of public office.

The court on Tuesday listened to the testimonies of Dahabi's office director Arafat Abzakh, former finance director at the Ministry of Interior Mohammad Shalabi, Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF) employee Nahel Suleiman, Dahabi's chauffeur Firas Mahmoud and Minwar Mahmoud Khalaileh from the GID.

According to Abzakh, the GID chief ordered him to cash a cheque from the Ministry of Interior, which was supposed to be allocated for the 2007 parliamentary polls, to Dahabi's own benefit.

Abzakh said the cheque was in his name.

Shalabi, of the interior ministry, confirmed that the defendant asked for a JD500,000 cheque in Abzakh's name for the GID to buy “equipment” for the 2007 parliamentary polls, Petra reported.

Dahabi also entrusted Marcel Yacoubian, a friend of his, with supervising the building of the GID headquarters in Amman without floating a tender in line with due process, according to the testimonies.

Moreover, Dahabi allegedly used to receive allowances from Maj. Gen. Ziad Shraideh, assistant director of the GID for administrative affairs at the time, in return for his membership in the board of the army-owned Al Bashaer Company.

Suleiman said Dahabi had several accounts at the HBTF.

The amount of money deposited by Dahabi at the bank amounted to JD22 million, with frequent deposits between JD50,000 and JD350,000.

Under the bank's regulations, Suleiman said, an employee must report any suspicion of money laundering.

The bank employee said he did not suspect Dahabi was involved in money laundering due to his capacity as GID chief, adding that he dealt with his accounts for three years.

Suleiman said the deposits of large amounts of money began after the defendant assumed his post as GID chief. Dahabi served as GID head between 2005 and 2008.

The session was adjourned upon the request of Dahabi's defence team who objected to Abzakh's testimony.

The court's next session will be on June 24.

Before Dahabi's arrest, the prosecution banned him from travelling and his assets were frozen after the Anti-Money Laundering Unit filed a motion against him.

This trial sets a precedent as the first involving a GID director being tried before a civil court. Former intelligence chief, Samih Battikhi, was put on trial for similar charges in 2003, but was tried by a special internal GID court.

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