Jordan, December 17, 2018
Lower House submits queries to gov’t, refers airline case to JIACC

AMMAN — The Lower House on Sunday decided to refer a case involving the government’s attempt to buy former Lebanese prime minister Najib Miqati’s shares in Royal Jordanian (RJ) to the Jordan Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (JIACC).

The House’s decision was made after MP Abdul Karim Dughmi asked a question on why the government bought Miqati’s RJ shares at a higher price than the rate listed in the financial market, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The MP requested referring the issue to JIACC, to check on the deal’s procedures and its impact on the Treasury.

Finance Minister Ezzeddine Kanakrieh said the government was ready to present all documents and information it has on the issue.

The Lower Chamber also discussed 12 questions that were directed to the government and delayed three others for a later session.

Unsatisfied with the government’s response, lawmaker Fawwaz Zu’bi changed his question involving the Jordan Nuclear Power Company into an inquiry.

MP Hassan Ajarmeh requested more details on his question involving the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of the Queen Alia International Airport, and the maintenance work on the northern runway, which has been closed for years.

Deputy Riyad Azzam asked about the purpose of a committee tasked with appointing employees to senior posts. The question involved why some appointments were made outside the panel.

Minister for Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah pointed out that amendments were made to the appointment by-law for leading posts two months ago. The amendments are meant to achieve greater justice and transparency and limit appointments to the committee formed for this purpose.

MP Nabil Ghishan was satisfied with the government’s reply to a question about the cost of importing wheat after the secretary general of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply said that the price of one tonne of wheat in the last shipment stood at JD189 and was sold to bakeries at JD210.

Lawmaker Tareq Khouri, who was a member of the parliamentary delegation that visited Syria in November, asked about the 422 white helmets that came to Jordan in July. A total of 379 of them have left the Kingdom, while 50 remain.

In July, the rescue workers who had been operating in rebel-held areas fled advancing Russian-backed Syrian government troops and slipped over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights frontier and into Jordan with the help of third parties. Jordan hosted those Syrians on a temporary basis for humanitarian reasons and upon a request by the UN.

Deputy Khamis Atiyyeh’s question was related to a decline of foreign currency reserves at the Central Bank of Jordan by more than 11 per cent, and its impact on the economy and purchasing power of the dinar.