By Libya Herald staff.
Malta, 6 January 2015:
The Libyan Audit Bureau has today suspended five diplomats, four ambassadors and one Council General, in France, Germany, Spain Greece and Turkey for ”harming public funds”.
In its statement released today, the AB said that as a result of activities that harm public funds and obstruct the work of the Audit Bureau, the Libyan Audit Bureau has today suspended the following five diplomats:
|1||Mohamed Al-Figeeh Salih||Libyan ambassador to Spain|
|2||Al-Shibani Mansour Abu-Amoud||Libyan ambassador to France|
|3||Ahmed Yakoub Younis Gizlaan||Libyan ambassador to Greece|
|4||Al-Sunussi Abdelgader Kwayder||Libyan ambassador to Germany|
|5||Abdulmohsen Ramadan Ghunaim||Libyan General Counsel to Turkey|
It will be recalled that in December last year the AB referred three Libyan ambassadors – Cairo, Tunis and Belgrade – to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The moves by the AB are unprecedented as no-one asked in Libya can recall an ambassador or diplomat abroad being suspended or referred to prosecution by the AB in the Qaddafi era.
This action comes as a result of the widely held belief that corruption in the government bureaucracy has increased post 2011 as a result of weak state institutions. It has particularly increased in Libya’s embassies abroad as millions of US dollars are sent ostensibly for the medical care of wounded militias.
Moreover, the action by the AB comes as the Libyan state struggles to meet its financial obligations due to the conflict in Libya. The conflict has slashed oil production to around 300,000 bpd from a peak of 1.5 million. The crash in world crude oil prices has added to Libya’s economic problems and its current deficit.
In recent weeks, statements from both the Al-Beida and Tripoli-based governments have indicated the need to cut spending in line with Libya’s slashed revenues.
The AB, much like the Central Bank of Libya, has been trying to remain neutral in the political tug-of-war between on the one hand the GNC supported, Misrata-led militias of Libya Dawn and the HoR supported Zintani-Hafter led militias on the other.
It has been trying to portray an image of being above everyday politics and sees itself as the guardian of Libyan public funds.
However, nothing is quite so simple in the new post 2011 dichotomous Libya. Despite the claims of political impartiality by the AB, the move is being seen by the government in Beida and the House of Representatives in Tobruk as an attack by an organisation now firmly under the influence of Libya Dawn, the General National Congress and its Hassi government.
The three ambassadors referred to the Prosecutor’s Office in December were known to be firm supporters of the HoR and its Thinni government.
The Thinni Ministry of Foreign Affairs had, in any event, already instructed Libyan embassies to have no dealings with the AB and in December the HoR had appointed a new head – Omar Abdulrabah Saleh Al-Barasi – and deputy head for the AB. They are expected to be based in either Beida or Tobruk. The government had already set up a parallel Central Bank under its direct authority.
The move also follows legal advice given to the Thinni government that it can set up new accounts under its control, not that of the Tripoli-based Central Bank, to receive oil revenues.
It was this development, it is believed, that triggered the attempt by Misratan-led forces to take control of the oil terminals and prevent the Thinni government bypassing the Tripoli-based Central Bank and the AB and so accessing the revenues. [/restrict]