‘Kurdi’: The Statement Beyond

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Wed 30 August / Aug 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

The Public’s reaction varied to news of the Cabinet’s decision, the day before last, to extradite former Chairman of the Phosphate Company’s board of directors, Walid Kurdi, back to Jordan.

Next to the cynicism we have become accustomed to on social media, the popular reaction ranged from welcoming to doubting and sceptic. Some even said it was a vacant attempt to appeal to the public.

The decision entails pushing legal procedures via the Interpol for the extradition of the corrupt, convicted fugitive, and the retrieval of more than JOD300 million.

Notably, Kurdi is wanted for embezzlement and exploitation of officer for personal gain.

As far as the government’s announcement goes, all options are on the table, in coordination, of course, with the Office of the Attorney General.

The GA’s office will push for an Interpol warrant, which would allow for his arrest and deportation back.

Officially, Jordan will have to address UK’s Minister of Interior, as respective counterpart in this regard.

However, the agreement between Jordan and the UK does not include criminal extradition, which would have made the entire process easy, and the confiscation of his assets even easier.

Typically, the diplomatic device and channel is our government only resort, in such a case. But when Jordan made the same request, three years ago, to the British authorities, they turned us down.

The current prime minister was then the minister of interior; Theresa May.

She was the one who rejected our request; never bothered to give it a second thought even.

So, why would she, now that she’s the prime minister of the UK, approve it?!

Everything they’re planning to do now, they’ve already tried before, all to no viable end.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the decision was unnecessary, as some would, nor that it does not require a Cabinet decision, since this is a task for the police.

Something of essence lies beyond the practicality and result of the government’s decision; a political message of significant symbolic value.

This message states clearly that no one is above the law, and that prosecuting corruption is a duty.

Indeed, this appeals to many Jordanians and their demands to retrieve of the Kingdom’s stolen wealth.

More so, it also confirms that the Jordanian state will never condone corruption or whitewash it.

Quite contrarily, the state reiterates its stand against corruption on every occasion, alongside the people, who also denounce corruption.

This is a highly significant message, I’d say. It sets our country apart from many others.

Realistically speaking, I am afraid there is very little we can do about Kurdi, unfortunately.

All our Minister of Justice could do, for instance, is ask the UK for help, in accordance to the legal aid and assistance agreement signed by Jordan and Britain.

Going to the Interpol too, could help deliver us Kurdi while travelling in another country, for instance.

But since the treaty with the UK does not include criminal extradition, it won’t help the government’s official position.

Not to mention that the Brits have already refused our request once.

Carefully, we need not expect too much.

We’d clutch to the decision’s symbolic value, rather than build high expectations.

The people need to know that legal reviews of the Phosphate Company’s contracts, dating back to Kurdi’s time, have all concluded they were legally sound.

Anything there in the records will not suffice, legally speaking. For everything Kurdi has done is manipulatively legal.

This was the opinion of one of the best lawyers out there.

Nevertheless, as weak as the case may be, legally, I wouldn’t say the decision is pointless.

Behind this seemingly legal matter stands a monumental political trial; the prosecution of legal manipulation and corruption.

It is a declaration of war against all who play in the shadow of the law.

Perhaps this was a wager we should not have made, because of its obvious futility, given all of the above, in addition to the fugitive’s own status and relationships.

Meanwhile, we all know that such a decision would not have passed without consensus; this isn’t the prime minister’s game!

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.