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More about money

April 28, 2009

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In the latest story in our investigative series on fiscal governance and transparency in the Palestinian Authority, we highlight the debate over the workings of the Palestine Investment Fund – which in 2002 consolidated the various and secretive holdings of former President Yasser Arafat into a fund which was initially managed by PA government ministers.

In 2006, to keep the fund out of the hands of the Islamist Hamas movement which won Palestinian legislative elections that year, President Mahmoud Abbas severed government control of the Fund and his chief economic adviser took over running the fund along with a board comprised of private businessmen.

Although Hamas is no longer in power in the West Bank, Abbas has not handed back control of the fund, which has assets of nearly one billion dollars, to the government.

Some say this is the best way to maximise the fund’s long-term impact on the Palestinian economy – but critics charge that this arrangement lacks transparency and public oversight.

PHOTO CREDIT: A money changer waits for customers in the West Bank city of Ramallah in this June 2008 file photo. (REUTERS/Fadi Arouri)

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