Senior Fatah officials in the Palestinian Authority health system systematically stole valuable medications and replaced them with worthless placebo pills.
The placebos, which lab tests show had no medical value, were passed along to clinics and hospitals, where they were given to patients suffering from serious and often life-threatening diseases.
The real medications were taken to massive warehouses in Ramallah and Shechem, and were sold for high prices on the black market. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said over the weekend that the allegations would be investigated.
The PA has been hit by other scandals in recent weeks. PA negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) was recently accused of embezzling millions of dollars in PA funds, as was former Arafat advisor Khaled Salam. A third senior official was recently caught attempting to smuggle cellular telephones.
PA Considers Investigating Top Arafat Aide
PA officials said Saturday that they are considering an investigation of Khaled Salam, also known as Mohammed Rashid, a former senior advisor to deceased PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. PA General Prosecutor Ahmed al-Mughni said Salam is planning a $600 million investment in a Jordanian project, and that the money may have come from funds meant for the PA.
Rashid was involved in several financial partnerships with Israelis on ventures such as the Jericho casino.