Fahed Fanek today is criticising the financial and economic committee of the parliament for referring a potential corruption case to the prosecutor general. The committee had studied a report by the audit bureau, which stated that a decision by the Social Security board of directors to buy the failing Zara Hotel in Ma'in was improperly made. According to the bureau report, the shares were bought outside the stock exchange, and the price paid was 80 million dinars over the value of the real assets of the company.
According to Fanek, decision makers in such case should be immune from prosecution, because following up such cases will cause them to shy away from difficult decisions. What he does not say is that the decision to buy the shares was a political and not an investment decision. The government at the time wanted the venture to keep going, and really didn't care what the economic prospects were, because it was not coming out of their own pockets.
I have written before about how the government tries to use the social security fund for political expediency (with a reference to another Fanek article defending the government for doing this). This is a recurring issue, and now that the government is planning issuing a new law to curtail retirement benefits of the social security, it is a good time to put all past decisions into the light.
Political pressure and corruption will always be a threat to social security funds. This is precisely why there should be no immunity for board members of the SSC. Decision makers in the social security investment board should be held accountable so that they resist political pressure from the government. This is the best way to protect them from this pressure and it is a good way to protect our money.