By George Grant.
Tripoli, 27 November:
The Integrity Commission has cleared three of the four nominee government ministers hitherto under investigation for evidence . . .[restrict]of criminal activity or unacceptable associations with the Qaddafi regime.
The cleared ministers are Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Al-Aujali, Social Affairs Minister Kamla Khamis Al-Mazini and Agriculture Minister Ahmed Ayad Ali Al-Urfi.
Religious Affairs Minister Abdusalam Mohammed Abusaad remains under investigation.
The decisions were published by the Integrity Commission today, Tuesday.
The Commission’s decision to clear Ali Al-Aujali, Zeidan’s surprise choice for foreign minister, is likely to prove controversial in many quarters. A career diplomat, Aujali held several high-profile posts in the Qaddafi regime, including as ambassador to Malaysia, Argentina, and – upon the outbreak of the revolution – the United States.
He is also accused of having had close relations with Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi.
Following his announcement as Zeidan’s proposed foreign minister, protests were staged outside Congress by three groups of revolutionaries demanding that he, along with five others, be removed.
Nevertheless, his high-profile defection shortly after the start of the uprising on 17 February, together with several other ambassadors, undoubtedly helped garner international support for the revolution.
In the summary of its findings on Aujali, the Integrity Commission noted that, “Whilst the Commission finds that [Aujali] was Ambassador to the United States during the revolution, he nevertheless broke away from Qaddafi on 22 February 2012, according to the telegram sent by the Libyan Foreign Ministry, which proves that he joined the revolution February 17 prior to March 20, 2011.”
Explaining its decision to clear Agriculture Minister Al-Urfi, formerly head of the General People’s Planning Office in Marj, the Committee noted that he had joined the revolution “the day before” 20 March, and was also involved in “supplying arms and munitions to Misrata” during the uprising.
The Commission notes that Social Affairs Minister Al-Mazini has been cleared, but does not provide specifics save to say that no evidence had been found against her that warranted her being disbarred.
The Integrity Commission also listed the names of every other member of the Zeidan government, save for Second Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi, saying that they too had been cleared. None of the above were of serious concern to the Commission, and were officially sworn into the government at a ceremony at the National Congress on 14 November.
Barasi, for his part, was not subjected to investigation, having already been cleared by the Commission. He served as electricity minister in the Kib government and was one of the early contenders for prime minister.
Separately, it is also now being reported that Zeidan’s proposed interior minister, Ashour Sulaiman Shuwail, has appointed Abdulhafiz Ghoga, formerly deputy chairman of the National Transitional Council, as his lawyer as part of his appeal campaign against the Commission’s decision earlier this month to disbar him.
Protests have been held in Beida demanding Shuwail be reinstated, although he has also been opposed in counter-protests by revolutionaries in Tripoli.
The other three ministers to have been disbarred, Ali Mohammed Muhairiq (Electricity), Abdulasalm Bashir Duabi (Higher Education), and Muaz Fathi Al-Khoja (Minister for Relations with Congress), are also believed to be appealing, with none having announced their decisions to stand down.
Established under the NTC, the Integrity Commission is a 12-man body headed by Hilal Izzedine Sanusi, a former political prisoner and president of the First Court in Marj. Eight of the members have legal backgrounds and degrees in law, whilst the remaining four includes three academics and a businessman.
The Commission is mandated to investigate any person seeking high political office for ties with the Qaddafi regime or evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
In addition to having had to join the revolution before 20 March 2011, under no circumstances may people in the following categories, among others, hold public office in Libya according to the Regulation:
- Members or commanders of the Revolutionary Guards;
- Members of the Revolutionary Committees;
- Student association directors after 1976;
- Those who were “known for glorifying the regime of Muammar Qaddafi or his call for the ideas of the Green Book [Qaddafi’s political philosophy], whether through various media or public speeches;”
- Those who “stood against the February 17 Revolution” by means of incitement, aid, or collusion;
- Those who were convicted of corruption or stealing public funds;
- Those who participated in any capacity in the imprisonment and torture of Libyans during the rule of the former regime;
- Those who committed or participated in hostile acts against Libyans in the opposition, whether abroad or in Libya;
- Those who seized private property or participated in seizing property during the previous regime;
- Those who were involved in stealing public funds or enriched themselves on behalf of the Libyan population, or who accumulated wealth in Libya or abroad in an illegal manner;
- Those who had commercial dealings with the sons of Muammar Qaddafi or his close associates;
- Those who formerly held positions of leadership that directly related to the sons of Muammar Qaddafi, and their institutions;
- Recipients of awards or money from the former regime by illegal means;
- Those who obtained an academic degree on a subject related to the Qaddafi’s Green Book or Third Universal Theory.