Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree appointing a new chief of staff to replace Rafiq Husseini, who was dismissed in February over a sex scandal, Ma'an learned Tuesday.

Dr Hussein Al-A'raj previously served as governor of Hebron, undersecretary of the ministry of local governance from 2004 to 2005, and served as the chief of staff of Palestinian Authority civil servants.

Before working in government, Al-Araj lectured at the An-Najah National University in Nablus in the Faculty of Economy and Administrative Sciences.

The newly appointed chief of staff graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1989.

The former chief of staff was dismissed on 14 February 2010 following the leak of a videotape that apparently showed Husseini propositioning a job applicant for sex in Ramallah.

Two days after is dismissal Husseini told reporters that the videotape was a fabrication and alleged that conspirators, who he did not name, dubbed his voice on the videotape for the purposes of blackmail, both political and financial. He described the videotape as manipulated, noting it was more than a year and a half old, and insisted he informed Abbas of the incident at the time.

An inquiry, which concluded in April, cleared him of charges of nepotism, blackmail and corruption, but confirmed his dismissal for "tainting" his office with personal mistakes.

The outcome of the inquiry was relayed to Husseini in a letter, who released a statement saying detailing its contents. "I [Abbas] certify that your performance as a chief of staff was excellent and professional, and valuable accomplishments were achieved during your term," Al-Hussein said the letter read.


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