By Moutaz Ali.
Tunis, 5 February 2015:
Despite having two rival governors, the Central Bank of Libya continues to be an independent organisation . . .[restrict]the bank’s spokesman has insisted.
Media office manager Essam El-Oul has told the Libya Herald: “The CBL is a completely independent financial institute which serves all Libyans. It has never being affected by any political struggles in the past, is not being affected now and will not be in the future”.
In September 2014, the House of Representatives fired Saddek Elkaber after the governor refused to report to it in Tobruk. In his stead, they appointed his deputy Ali Salem Hibri who did respond to a call to go to Tobruk and talk to the HoR. Elkaber who had been in Malta, declined to resign but said that he would be standing down temporarily while the courts decided his position.
He did say however that no government had the power to fire a governor unless it was for serious wrong-doing, a charge of which he was innocent. The HoR had questioned some CBL transactions. He was then two years into his five year term. Part of the problem appeared to be Elkaber’s blocking of a payment to the HoR.
El-Oul maintained that the fact that nominally the bank has two different chiefs was not affecting its performance. This could never happen, he said, because the bank was working within the 2005 banking, as amended in 2012, which prevented anyone from overstepping their authority.
He did admit however that the CBL was struggling in its attempts to recover funds that the Qaddafi regime had placed elsewhere in Africa. It was estimated that billions of dollars were held in accounts and trusts in South Africa, over which the bank had so far been unable to gain control.
One of the difficulties, El-Oul said ,was proving title to the funds “because the Qaddafi regime was dealing, transferring and moving these substantial amounts of money informally by using individual names rather than by formal governmental channels”. [/restrict]