Taking bribe, Tunisian official ‘caught red-handed’

Taking bribe, Tunisian official ‘caught red-handed’
Tunisian policemen stand guard at a beach in the coastal resort of Hammamet, south-east of Tunis, in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2017

Taking bribe, Tunisian official ‘caught red-handed’

Taking bribe, Tunisian official ‘caught red-handed’

TUNIS: A Tunisian allegedly caught red-handed taking a bribe was among three regional officials sacked on Monday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who has vowed to fight graft.
A government statement announced the sackings but did not say why the three were relieved of their duties.
A spokesman for a provincial prosecutor said one of the officials had been arrested during a police sting allegedly pocketing money from a businessman who had complained to authorities that he had been asked to pay bribes.
According to spokesman Mohamed Ali Barhoumi, the businessman told authorities the official pestered him with demands for payment for the renewal of the lease for his shop.
The suspect allegedly pocketed 500 dinars ($200) from the shop owner in the police sting operation, Barhoumi said. Corruption was widespread under longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising, and has remained endemic since.
Chahed’s government has made fighting corruption a priority since taking office last year, when the head of the national anti-graft body Chawki Tabib warned graft had reached “epidemic” proportions.
Tunisia was ranked 75th out of more than 170 countries in the 2016 corruption perceptions index published by Transparency International. It had been 59th in 2010.
In January, the anti-graft body honored 10 whistleblowers in corruption cases in a move to encourage more people to come forward.
Meanwhile, a young man trying to enter the Tunisian Parliament was arrested on Tuesday when a scanner at the entrance detected that he had a knife, officials said. A parliamentary official told Reuters it was not immediately clear why the man was attempting to enter the building.
A member of Parliament told local media he was among a group of students who had come to watch a parliamentary session.
Security at the Parliament building in Tunis has been tightened since gunmen stormed the neighboring Bardo Museum two years ago and killed 21 foreign tourists.


Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
This picture shows the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on July 27, 2018, after the site was reopened. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2021

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
  • Council set to denounce action that is ‘violation of understandings’

AMMAN: Israeli police have stopped workers from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf from renovating the Dome of the Rock for two consecutive days, raising tensions in the old city.

Azzam Khatib, director of the Jordanian Waqf department in Jerusalem, informed Jordan’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv Ghassan Majali and Minister of Waqf in Amman Mohammed Khalaileh of the news.

Israeli officials claim the decision was made after an individual tried to renovate the ceiling of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque, which Israel has demanded Muslims to vacate, without reason.

The Jerusalem Waqf Council is expected to issue a strong statement denouncing the Israeli action, calling it a violation of understandings.

Bassam Hallaq, the Waqf engineer in charge of the renovation, said that Israeli police stopped work on the gold-plated Dome of the Rock on Saturday and Sunday, and prevented urgent electric work, too.

Israel insists that any renovation or repair must be pre-approved. The renovation is not structural.

Arab News has learned that the Israeli actions on Saturday and Sunday followed the efforts of an unknown Palestinian whose face was covered, who climbed the roof of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque in order to apply cement to stop leaks.

Israel has forbidden any repair work on the mosque.

Hallaq said that all repair work in the entire Al-Aqsa compound has also been suspended by Israel.

The mosque’s engineer insists that the Waqf has no cement materials inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and that Friday was a holiday when staff did not work.

Sheikh Omar Kisswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told reporters that repairs to the entire 144 dunum Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa mosque compound were the right of the Islamic Waqf and that the Israeli police have no right to interfere in their work.

A spokesman for the Israeli police told Arab News that the “subject isn’t under the responsibility of the Israeli police.”