Bakhit denies corruption suspects in Dead Sea Casino case
Former Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit said he referred the Dead Sea casino case to Parliament because some people want to prove that the case was \"politically exploited\" by some fronts. The casino case is a widely
used title referring to a deal signed by Bakhit\'s government with a British investor of Iraqi descent in 2007 to build and operate a casino on the shores of the Dead Sea, which was later suspended and then scrapped by former Prime Minister Nader Dahabi’s government
In his testimony before the Jordanian Criminal Court, Bakhit said that he decided to let the public in and refer the file to the governmental anti-corruption commission and the Parliament, as he was sure that there was no corruption in the deal.
He said that some political groups created a fuss by alleging that the casino was actually built, although it does not exist and did not cost the government any financial losses.
The ex-PM said that when his government discussed the idea, they found suspects over the legality of the casino, but they had no doubt about its financial worth.
He added that the project would have earned the public treasury around JD100 million, in addition to providing job opportunities for around 5,000 people.
Bakhit said that former governments have allowed two casinos to be built on the shores of the Dead Sea in 1962 and in 1975, plus the fact that all the previous governments allowed all five-star hotels to establish their own casinos.
He added that the decision was annulled the next year, even though that licences were obtained to establish casinos in Aqaba and Jordan\'s northern border with Syria.
He went on to say that three companies had submitted offers to his government for the project, and that the Dead Sea casino would have returned 40 to 45 per cent of its revenues to the treasury.
Bakhit reiterated that the project was stopped due to political reasons, not for financial or corruption-related reasons.
Bakhit explained that he decided to suspend the deal upon a recommendation by the former minister of the legal affairs, Khaled Zoabi, who said that suspending the deal will not have a financial impact on Jordan.