(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The State Security Court (SSC) on Tuesday postponed issuing a verdict in the case of three former officials and a businessman, standing trial on charges of bribery and abuse of public office.
The SSC was supposed to issue a verdict today in the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC) corruption case, but decided to adjourn the session until July 6 for further examination into the case, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
The four defendants include former finance minister Adel Qudah, former JPRC director general Ahmad Rifai, former economic adviser to the prime minister Mohammad Rawashdeh and business tycoon Khaled Shahin, who was a bidder in the JPRC expansion project.
Qudah, Rifai and Rawashdeh were charged with bribery and exploitation of public office, while Shahin was charged with three counts of bribery and three counts of conspiracy to commit acts of exploitation of public office.
The press has been barred from entering the courtroom and covering court proceedings since the commencement of the trial earlier this year.
The government monopoly over the JPRC ended in March 2008, and the company, at the governments request, began looking for a strategic partner, according to the charge sheet.
In February 2009, Shahin submitted a request to be part of the companys expansion project through a company he owned, but only informed Rifai and Rawashdeh that he was the owner of this company, the charge sheet said.
On April 5, 2009, Shahins company was given permission to examine the situation of the refinery company and have access to the information centre there, the case documents said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Ministry named a committee headed by Qudah and including Rawashdeh and Rifai, among others, to examine the expansion of the oil refinery, according to the charge sheet, which added that the panel decided to give 15-year exclusivity to the company assigned to commence with the expansion project.
Its decision was approved by the Prime Ministry in April 2009 and interested companies were given until the end of 2009 to submit bids and negotiate with the government, it added.
Shahin learned that the committee included the three defendants, met with them at his house, and asked them to use their authority to ensure that his company won the tender, the indictment said.
In return, Shahin allegedly promised to offer the defendants benefits from his company, contract renewals at the oil refinery and to employ relatives of some of the defendants.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Nabil Sharif said previously that the case was referred to the SSC because the charges levied against the defendants fall within the domain of economic security and are related to a public company involved in the vital energy sector.
By Rana Husseini