Wednesday Feb. 17, 2010 7:38 AM (EST+7)
Government denies reports of cabinet reshuffle
Read more: Palestinian cabinet, government, cabinet reshuffle, Aman, corruption, sex scandal, Rafiq Husseini, Mahmoud Abbas, Ali Khashaan, Lamis al-Alami, Ismail Dweiq
RAMALLAH Feb 17 (JMCC) - The Palestinian government is on the verge of a major shake-up, sources said Tuesday night.
At least three ministers are set to be removed from the Palestinian cabinet, and the president's chief-of-staff is to be replaced, said the sources.
Head of the government media office Ghassan Khatib denied the reports of a reshuffle, calling them completely inaccurate.
The reports come in the wake of a major scandal, in which President Mahmoud Abbas' chief of staff Rafiq Husseini was outed in Israeli media for allegedly using his position to garner sexual favors.
Husseini has denied the allegations and said he will cooperate with an investigation launched by President Mahmoud Abbas into the affair.
The charges are being made by Fahmi Shabaneh, former employee of the Palestinian intelligence service, who turned tapes purporting to be of Husseini and sensitive documents alleging financial corruption over to the press.
According to the sources, Husseini is to be replaced by minister of interior Said Abu Ali.
Other ministers said to be leaving their posts include education minister Lamis al-Alami, justice minister Ali Khashaan and agriculture minister Ismail Dweiq.
The changes in the government are to be announced in the coming days, sources told JMCC.
Shabaneh has threatened to release more information on alleged corruption to the press if those he has implicated are not penalized.
Aman, an organization that deals with the issue of corruption in Palestinian society, has called for a full and impartial investigation into the corruption scandal.
It also warned in a press release last week against exploitations by external parties whose aim is to to politicize and achieve personal gains from this matter by labeling the Palestinian National Authority with corruption.