Audit Bureau Vetoes New Foreign Ministry Appointments by the GNA – Al Marsad

The Head of the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau, Khaled Shakshak, issued a letter addressed to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mohamed Taher Siala, referring to cases of appointments to the Libyan Diplomatic and Consular Corps that contravened official regulations. Shakshak demanded that the GNA Foreign Minister withdraw the recent issued letters of appointments of the violating cases.

[Libya, 22 August 2019] – The Head of the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau mentioned that the above-mentioned letter, dated 8 August, 2019, has been issued in implementation of the role of the Audit Bureau in overseeing decisions related to public funds spending in reference to the money squandered by the Foreign Ministry in  salaries that are paid in hard currency to thousands of its employees abroad.

According to the letter, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Mohamed Siala, had violated previous instructions issued by the Audit Bureau on 2 April, which stipulated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation must follow the established mechanisms for external secondment of staff. The Audit Bureau stressed that any appointments prior to that date should be promptly addressed.

Shakshak’s letter indicated that the Foreign Minister has bypassed the law by individually issuing new assignments contrary to regulations. The regulations stipulate that the assignment of staff to work abroad must be executed through the competent committee at the Ministry, and that seniority considerations should also be taken into account.

Head of the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau, Khaled Shakshak, and a founding member of the Justice and Construction Party, which is loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood

According to the Audit Bureau letter, Foreign Minister Siala has once again infringed on the relevant regulations for appointments in the Diplomatic and Consular Corps abroad, when he failed to abide by the legally prescribed period as a prerequisite for sending the employee on repeated secondments abroad, in violation of Article 32 of Law No. 2 of 2001 on the Regulations of the Political and Consular Work Abroad.

The letter by Shakshak disclosed that Siala has tampered once again with the law by appointing a group of employees abroad without taking into account the basic requirement of the need to work at least four years inside Libya from the date of the end of the last post abroad. It was fond that some of the foreign staff have been reinstated in 2016-2017, meaning that the four-year prerequisite was not met.

The Audit Bureau provided evidence of  Siala’s “tampering with the law”; it involves cases of nine Foreign Ministry employees that Minister Siala was seeking to appoint in Sfax, Tunisia, Denmark, Manchester, Morocco, Dubai, Jeddah, and Australia.

At the conclusion of his letter, Shakshak demanded that Siala withdraw these decisions and stop their implementation, as well as any other appointments made in violation of the law, asking him to activate the work of the relevant committee assigned with staff deployment abroad. He requested Siala to respect the seniority of employees, and organize the appointments according to an action plan that takes into account the extent of the needs of Libyan Embassies abroad for new employees in accordance with the staffing law in force in Libya.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Mohamed Taher Siala

This is not the first time that both the Audit Bureau and the Administrative Oversight Authority have been forced to veto appointments made by Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala, whose tenure witnessed multiple hikes in the number of staff working at Libyan embassies and consulates abroad—an already redundant sector and a drain on Libya’s budget. Several notices were addressed to Siala as GNA’s Foreign Minister, although he was known for his legal discipline during his period of work with the former regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Copy of the letter by Khaled Shakshak to Mohamed Siala

According to the Audit Bureau report issued in 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spent millions of dollars, on a monthly basis, as salaries for its staff abroad, most of them already in excess of the country’s needs, such as those dispatched to African, Asian and Latin American countries where there are zero Libyan communities to provide services to.

Reports and correspondence of the Audit Bureau demanded Siala to rationalize spending and stop issuing arbitrary decisions, but, despite his adherence to the principle of the civil state, which provides for the respect of the law, he has turned a blind eye to all these recommendations.

In contrast, some Foreign Ministry officials close to Minister Siala said that the motive behind ignoring reports and correspondence issued by the Head of the Audit Bureau, Khaled Shakshak, is that Shakshak himself ignored the law and the principles of the civility of the state, through his continuance in office despite the fact that the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) passed a resolution to end his mandate. In addition to the end of his legal period as Head of the Audit Bureau, Shakshak did not observe the principle of neutrality through being a founding member of the Justice and Construction Party, which is loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, among other factors.

@ Al Marsad English. 2019.

 

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