Wednesday 13 August 2003

Sharon corruption probe gathers momentum

In my ignorant youth I often wondered why Africa's leaders were so utterly corrupt when it seemed like the leaders in the West were all moral upstanding people. Now in the senility of old age (30) I have come to realise that all along the Western leaders were the really corrupt ones, they were just much better at hiding it! We can't expect Africa to become less corrupt until we put our own house in order. Below is a perfect example of the utter hypocrisy of so-called modern western democracies. Scratch the surface of the prim and proper politicians and you'll find a seething, steaming layer of bribery, greed and, of course, death.

Two corruption investigations against Ariel Sharon have picked up in intensity and public scrutiny in recent weeks after two years of tedious progress, raising for the first time the possibility that the Israeli prime minister could be forced out of office.

Yet most believe the cases against Sharon will eventually fizzle, as have others against Israeli leaders in recent years, after the attorney general declined to press charges.

Polls suggest two-thirds of Israelis believe Sharon is hiding something from the police, but almost as many say he shouldn't step down.

Sharon denies any wrongdoing. The investigations focus on allegations that he obtained an illegal loan during his 1999 primary election campaign - possibly in exchange for financial favors - and that he was bribed by an Israeli businessman to promote a real estate project in Greece while serving as foreign minister in the late 1990s.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported Monday that the businessman, David Appel, will probably be indicted on charges of bribing Sharon. This does not necessarily mean Sharon will be indicted as Israeli law does not require an alleged bribe taker to be charged because a bribe giver is.

The Justice Ministry refused comment on the Haaretz report and on the case in general. Spokesman Jacob Galanti would only say the investigations are continuing.

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