By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 1 February 2017:
Members of the House of Representatives (HoR) who initially boycotted it have denied reports that they received payments in 2015 from the so-called government of national salvation (GNS) led by Khalifa Ghwell.
“It’s a lie,” Misrata member Mohamed Raeid told the Libya Herald. “I never received anything.”
Jebel Nafousa member Akram Isa Omar Al-Kikli has also refuted the claims, saying he never received any payment from any government, not the Ghwell administration, the Beida-based government or the current Presidency Council Government of National Accord.
A document, allegedly from the GNS, signed by Ghwell and dated 29 September 2015, which appears to approve payments to 26 named HoR members for salaries and housing allowances, was published yesterday by the online newspaper Al Marsad. It says that it was given it by a source in the former GNS.
All 26 are former boycotters. They include Mustafa Abushagur, Fathi Bashagha Suleiman Al-Fagih and Naim Ghariani. They were all supposedly given LD 7,500 month salary and LD 3,200 housing allowance for the period August 2914 to September 2015.
The emergence of the document, the authenticity of which cannot be guaranteed, coincides with the leaking of a phone recording, also made in 2015, in which two influential figures in Libya are heard discussing influence in regard to appointments to the Libya Dialogue team.
Questions are being asked whether the leaking of both are linked and whether they are part of a campaign to create greater confusion and anger than already exist in Libya.
“Why is this surfacing now?” asked an HoR official about the alleged payments document. “Someone clearly wants to damage these members.”
It may have been that one or two members were paid, he added, but it not those such as Mohamed Raied and Mustafa Abushagur. “They don’t need the money and they wouldn’t have taken it,” he said, asking not to be named.
“Expect more revelations,” suggested a prominent Libyan media activist who likewise requested anonymity. Pointing the blame at Islamists, he claimed a coordinated disinformation campaign to discredit the HoR, the Presidency Council, the Thinni administration and the Libyan National Army was now being waged.