By Libya Herald staff.
Malta, 22 January 2015:
The Tripoli-based Audit Bureau issued a decision yesterday to freeze all bank accounts of all . . .[restrict]government agencies. Any balances in the accounts of government departments and agencies are to be returned to the General Public Account at the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) (account number 190031).
The reason given by the Audit Bureau is for reasons of oversight and to fight the waste of public funds.
The Audit Bureau says that this freeze applies to the disbursement of February salaries and that all government transactions must first receive its approval and government transactions will only be disbursed after all monies in accounts are returned to the General Public Account at the CBL.
This latest Audit Bureau decision comes after the Audit Bureau had announcedd that all state-sector salaries would only be disbursed in the month of February through the use of the National ID Number – in the hope of reducing the widespread problem of the duplication of salaries.
It had also announced that state-sector employees will be required to sign an undertaking to turn up to work and not skive off work during work hours.
Furthermore, the Audit Bureau decision also follows in the footsteps of its decision to suspend the further transfer of any public funds to a number of Libyan embassies.
It is not clear whether the Audit Bureau will be able to enforce this decision, even in western Libya, or whether it will need a court decision to enforce it. It will certainly not have any jurisdiction or enforceability in eastern Libya, where the only internationally recognized legislature and government are based.
On the one hand this move by the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau can be seen as an effort to have better control and oversight over public finances and as an anti-corruption effort made all the more urgent by Libya’s dire economic situation.
However, on the other, it can be seen as part of the power struggle between the two political factions of the GNC/Libya Dawn and House of Representatives (HoR)/Karama – a power struggle that has become a struggle for access to funds.
It will be recalled that this decision has been issued by the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau that is recognized by the GNC/Libya Dawn faction, but not by the Tobruk-based HoR and its Abdullah Thinni-led government in Beida. The Beida-based government has appointed its own Audit Bureau head. [/restrict]