Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Throne over a swamp: Libya’s GNA drowns in mire of financial corruption

Friday 16/October/2020 - 03:42 PM
The Reference
Mustafa Kamel

Suspicions of corruption inside Libya have followed the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its officials, as they began to appear in public following the mass pressure by citizens in Tripoli in August, in addition to attempts to avoid any other social explosion due to the uproar as a result of widespread tampering with public money and the collapse of the services system, which resulted in the Investigation Department of the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Libya issuing decisions for pretrial detention of a number of officials on charges of corruption.

Lost Libyan money

Libya is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranking 168th out of 180, according to the Transparency International report for the year 2019.

Suspicions of corruption haunt the Libyan Audit Bureau, where its head, Khaled Shakshak, had previously asked the head of the Attorney General’s business office to start an investigation process accompanying the Bureau’s procedures concerned with questioning one of its members after he was involved in corruption linked to extortion and bribery. The Bureau has lifted the immunity of the implicated member to allow the opportunity to start investigating him in accordance with the law, noting that the participation of the competent public prosecutor's office in criminal investigations is an important step in combating corruption in public institutions.

Military Prosecution head in Tripoli Ayoub Emberch issued a decision to arrest and bring the head of the Committee for the Rationalization of Salaries at the Ministry of Finance, Al-Amin Bou Abdallah, and put him in prison on charges of negligence since he assumed the position on September 1, in addition to the deliberate delay in paying the salaries of Ministry of Defense employees, according to the lawsuit list issued by the Military Attorney General, who called the Ministry of Finance to denounce the imprisonment of Bouabdallah.

“The denunciations came for several reasons. First, the absence of any functional relationship between the committee and the Office of the Military Prosecutor General, as the head of the committee is a public servant who does not hold any military rank and the incident that is being investigated is not considered a crime to which the military law applies. The second reason is that the subject under investigation is an administrative procedure related to the salaries of the military prosecutor’s office, and these issues are dealt with according to the administrative sequence in effect,” he added.

GNA Finance Minister Faraj Boumtari said that his ministry denounces the detention incident that took place by order of the Public Prosecutor at the Military Prosecutor's Office, pointing out that the subject under investigation is an administrative procedure related to the salaries of the Military Prosecutor's Office, and thus issues are dealt with according to the administrative sequence in force in this regard. The delay in completing the procedure was caused by the delay by the Ministry of Defense in providing the committee with the supporting documents.

Banned from traveling

The director of the Partial Military Prosecution in Tripoli, Ayoub Al-Ajili, issued a decision to place seven defendants in the case of financial abuse and wasting public money in the military medical system on the list of those banned from traveling abroad.

Pursuing the corrupt

During the past few days, the Investigation Department of the Office of the Attorney General in Libya issued pre-trial detention decisions that included Abd al-Latif al-Tunisi, director of the Office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya, and Mustafa Maatouq, chairman of the board of directors of African Airlines, accused of inflicting serious damage to public funds. In addition, Fawzi Ali al-Ramali, director of the Africa Company for Trade and Investment of the Libya Aid Fund, which is based in Mauritius, is accused of using the public money entrusted to him for purposes other than that for which it was allocated, in addition to his practicing the job despite being suspended from his duties and using forged documents.

The decisions of the Libyan Attorney General's office included decisions to imprison the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Adel Jumaa for a period of 30 days pending investigation in cases related to suspected corruption, as well as the imprisonment of GNA Minister of Local Government Milad Al-Taher and his deputy, Saleh Al-Saklouk, against the background of accusations of looting public money under the pretext of financing public service companies in the eastern region without the financial sums coming to the beneficiary. The head of the Municipal Council of Bani Walid, Salem Noyer, was arrested against the background of his disposal of 3 million dinars allocated to the displaced in collusion with members of his family, while the imprisonment of Foreign Bank of Libya director Muhammad bin Yusuf was extended, along with the director of the investment sector at the Al-Sharif Shalabi bank, who is the son-in-law of the GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj.

Attorney General Abdul Basit Shahran addressed a letter to the Director of the Information Office at the GNA Ministry of Interior, the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, and the head of the Deterrence Agency to Combat Crime, in which he stated that the governor of the central bank, Siddiq al-Kabir, had submitted a complaint against Libyan Foreign Bank Director Muhammad bin Yusuf for entering the bank accompanied by a group to practice his work as the bank’s general manager, where the head of the investigations department said that investigations had been decided in several files related to public money and economic crimes, while international companies were assigned to gain access to the facts in a number of cases related to the investment institution and the Libyan Foreign Bank, referring to international judicial cooperation to investigate the files of the Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli in the west, and Al-Bayda in the east, in addition to government performance. This cooperation revealed that the Libyan Foreign Bank wasted 800 million dollars in unclassified investments that resulted in serious damage to public money.

Trial ploy

Representative Ali Al-Takbali considered that the arrest of some officials in the GNA on charges of corruption is a trick that does not fool anyone, as it is an attempt to keep eyes away from the real corrupt officials. He added that accountability should extend to all heads in the government, as corruption has become rampant and it has become difficult to get rid of it.