By Sami Zaptia.
London, 27 July 2019:
The Tobruk-based, and internationally-recognized parliament of Libya, the House of Representatives (HoR) has referred the breakaway Tripoli HoR to the Public Prosecutor for accessing its bank account in Tripoli.
It will be recalled that a group of mainly western-based HoR members broke away from the main Tobruk-based HoR in May in protest at Khalifa Hafter’s 4 April military attack on Tripoli.
The Tobruk HoR’s Legal Department said that people claiming to represent its Tripoli office took over its account in Tripoli and transferred the amounts in it.
It said that the Tripoli HoR members sent a letter to their bank to change the approved signatures, which it said constitutes fraud and the taking of public funds punishable by the Libyan Penal Code.
The Tobruk HoR has requested that criminal proceedings be taken against the Tripoli HoR members as well as the return of the amounts to the account of the Tobruk House of Representatives,
The incident is further evidence of the fragmentation and polarization of Libyan politics and the deepening split between the east and west of Libya.
If the accusation is true, it will be indicative to see how the Tripoli Public Prosecutor’s Office and Faiez Serraj-led Presidency Council and Government of National Accord will deal with the incident.
They can choose to either descalate the situation and return the account to the Tobruk HoR or escalate the political fragmentation and polarization by allowing the Tripoli breakaway HoR to continue to access Tobruk’s money.
An escalation by Tripoli by cutting off Tobruk’s money could provoke a reaction by Tobruk beyond the point of no return in the political unity of Libya.