By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 1 April 2015:
Giving an insight into the hidden goings on behind the scenes of government, Prime Minister . . .[restrict]Abdullah Thinni revealed that his government was constantly subjected to outside pressures, threats and bribes ranging from local tribal leaders to the highest political and military figures in Libya.
‘‘This is a matter of fact and it (the outside pressure) is irresponsible behaviour’’, he said in a wide-ranging interview in Tunis with the Al-Hadath News website.
Thinni, appointed by the only internationally recognized parliament in Libya, has been in Tunis meeting with various international political and dipolomatic leaders.
Starting at a local level, Thinni revealed how the local tribal leaders and elders in Al-Beida, for example, ‘‘attempted to interfere and force upon me a number of issues’’, he admitted.
He referred to the cancelled trip to Tunis as a result of attempts by locals to force some individuals on the trip. He also admitted that Al-Beida’s Labrak airport is controlled by a ‘‘rowdy’’ group that does not recognize organization or official protocol.
Thinni also revealed that he had refused to give into pressures as Prime Minister under the previous parliament, the General National Council (GNC), and that when the Islamist political wing in the GNC attempted to impose their views on him he stood up to them.
He subsequently went to GNC President Abu Sahmain and handed in his resignation and continued as a caretaker PM – rather than give into pressures, he said.
The Prime Minister also revealed that 61 House of Representatives (HoR) members had signed a petition in an attempt to force his government to appoint the businessman Hasuna Tatanaki, who hails from the east, as chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).
However, Thinni said that despite the number of signatures he had refused.
Thinni said that Tatanaki, through a campaign on his Libya Awalan TV channel and through Al-Karama TV created a fuel shortage crises and other crisis – all in an attempt to hinder the government’s work.
Thinni said that he had refused to appoint Tatanaki and saw that as a businessman it was not appropriate to mix private money with public money, he explained.
Signatures are also still being collected in an attempt to put forward Abdulmajid Mlegta, the chairman of Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance party, Thinni revealed. Mlegta has carried out a ferocious campaign against Thinni with the support of his brother Othman, the leader of the Zintani-led Qaqaa brigade, the PM claimed.
The campaign against Thinni was because he had refused to sign a contract to buy French jet fighter ammunition through Egypt. The deal is still being studied by the Minister of Economy, and Thinni added that he was still not aware of the price of the deal.
Thinni said that he was always against such deals. ‘‘They told me that they did not expect me to refuse their requests since they put me at the head of the government to which I replied if you put me in government then remove me from the government now’’, Thinni claimed.
The Mlegta brothers still continue to apply pressure by forming alliances and sending on numerous occasions a third party, Juma Al-Usta (owner of Alassema TV channel), Thinni further revealed.
Thinni added that these personalities see themselves as larger than state institutions and they consider that Libya is condensed in their personalities and that their word is heard and obeyed and that they are giants in front of the rest of human beings, he explained.
We face things we did not ever expect to face. Regretfully we never expected Libyans to sink so low to this level, Thinni said.
On the illegal election by the GNC of Prime Minister-elect Ahmed Maetig, Thinni said that during the height of the crises in Tripoli he stood up to the pressures with regards to the appointment of Maetig by saying no.
‘‘They tried to buy me out by offering me a deal through the Misratan businessman Debaiba. They told me that whatever I wanted would be granted and that I should write the amount I wanted and hand over power to a pre-agreed person.
They pursued all means of pressure and tempted me with positions such as Deputy PM or Defence Minister’’.
‘‘They exerted pressures and I received calls from the Islamist political wing ranging from the Grand Mufti Saddik el Ghariani to (former GNC member, Misratan militia leader and leader of the militia attack on Tripoli) Salah Badi, (former GNC member, militia leader and current boycotting HoR member) Abdelrahman Swehli, militia leader Abdelhakim Belhaj and all their political leaders including (Islamist cleric) Ali Salabi who threatened me and held me responsible for the blood and what was happening in Libya, Thinni claimed. [/restrict]