By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 May 2018:
The First Deputy Head of the House of Representatives (HoR), Fawzi Taher Al-Neweri, has called upon the High State Council (HSC) to urgently install the HoR’s nomination, Mohamed Shukri, in his post in Tripoli as the new Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Governor.
In a statement released today, Neweri said that there had been many meetings held between him, members of the HoR, the head and members of the HSC regarding the HoR’s decision to appoint a new CBL Governor.
This decision, Neweri said, was an exceptional decision taken in view of economic, financial and monetary conditions that had (negatively) affected citizens’ lives directly.
However, Neweri added, due to the stalling of the Libyan Political Agreement amendment process and the economic and financial crisis, and the widespread administrative and financial corruption, which is based on the institutional division (in the country), and after the release by the monitoring authorities of their reports which reveal the scale of this corruption and its resulting suffering on Libyan citizens, I call on members of the HSC to prioritize the high national interest by dealing urgently and positively with the HoR’s appointment of Shukri as Governor of the CBL. This is especially in view of its effect on the lives of citizens at this difficult time.
The HoR, Neweri concluded, undertake to uphold article 15 of the Libyan Political Agreement regarding the other sovereign state positions through the agreed process.
It will be recalled that article 15 of the LPA prescribes that all top sovereign state posts are to be appointed by the HoR but in consultation with the HSC through a joint committee. The HoR, however, had appointed Shukri as the new CBL Governor without consulting the HSC. This led to the appointment being rejected by the HSC head at the time, Abdulrahman Swehli, the incumbent Governor Elkaber and UNSMIL
It will be recalled that there have been efforts to reunite the CBL, along the lines of the successful reunification of the National Oil Corporation. Ali Hibri and the other three eastern-aligned CBL Board members had announced their readiness to hold a full unified board meeting – called for by Faiez Serraj – in order to unify the CBL. They had accused El-Kaber of putting up preconditions for such a meeting and in effect refusing to unify the CBL.
It will also be recalled that Saddek El-Kaber was first dismissed from his post back in April 2015. The decision (No. (14) of 2015) to sack him was signed by Ali Hibri, who at the time represented the only internationally recognized government and parliament, the HoR.
He was subsequently sacked from his post for a second time by the HoR on 14 September 2014 after he had failed to turn up to Tobruk for questioning.
El-Kaber justifies remaining in his post on the bases of the fact that Libyan law and CBL regulations do not allow for a vacant post of Governor. Kaber would only vacate his post if his replacement arrived in Tripoli.
Kaber also does not recognize any CBL decisions taken in meetings held outside Libya, such as those held in Tunisia. Libyan law / CBL regulations stipulate that all such decisions must be taken in meetings held within Libya.
On the other hand, leading Libyan lawyer and human rights activist Azza Maghur has criticised UNSMIL for double standards on the Shukri appointment – when it comes to the interpretation and implementation of the LPA.