Water ministry officials sued for millions-worth corruption case

Water shutterstock
(Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — The Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) has referred to the prosecutor general a case of suspected corruption where officials at Ministry of Water and Irrigation are implicated.اضافة اعلان

A statement by the commission said the officials allegedly referred a tender worth about JD15 million to a bidder to dig seven underground wells in an area south of Amman, against expert warnings related to the quality and safety of the water at the location, an area called Khan Al-Zbeeb, around 100km south of the capital.

Expert reports advised against the move, citing studies that found “very high” temperatures and salinity levels in the wells, which were also found to contain alpha and beta rays in quantities hovering around 20–50 times the specifications for drinking water in Jordan, in addition to traces of radium.

According to the IACC, investigations revealed that the sitting minister at the time, who had been a partner at the said bidder before assuming office, awarded the bid without heeding the warnings included in the study, which was conducted by a British expert, along with a technical report compiled by the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission. Both reports agreed that treating the water in the wells in question would be difficult and costly.

The project started in 2017, according to the statement, when two bidders estimated the cost at JD26.796 million and JD26.998 million. The decision was postponed till the next year, when the first bidder agreed to lower the cost to JD14 million and was subsequently awarded the contract.

The Water Ministry “disregarded the regulations in effect at the time, under which it was mandatory to coordinate the plan with the Land and Survey Department and the Natural Resources Authority.” The latter had conducted its tests and found “very high concentrations of uranium,” according to the graft watchdog.

The ministry also failed to coordinate with the atomic energy agency, ignoring the fact that the area was a concession zone as per a previous Cabinet decision.

Read more national news