Palestinian minister returns over $80,000 in secret bonuses

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian Authority says Finance Minister Shukri Bishara has returned $81,600 in secretly approved bonuses that sparked public outrage when they came to light in June.

The PA's statement Monday said other ministers promised to return lavish payouts granted in 2017 and revealed in recently leaked documents.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas approved a measure to raise salaries for Cabinet members by 67%, which was retroactively applied to 2014 when the Cabinet took office, and inflated the exchange rate to give them a further premium.

The revelations drew criticism from Palestinians in the West Bank, where Abbas's Palestinian Authority has slashed salaries for government employees amid a deepening fiscal crisis after Israel stopped delivering tax revenues earlier this year.

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