Al-Kabir Says Sarraj’s Monopoly of Power is More Dangerous Than Coronavirus – Al Marsad

The Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) in Tripoli, Siddik Al-Kabir, condemned the reliance of the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, on the Emergency Law in his request to the CBL to open the foreign exchange sale system, describing it as invalid and unrelated to the Emergency Law.

[Libya, 4 May 2020] – In a letter dated 30 April to the President of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in response to Fayez al-Sarraj’s letter, Siddik al-Kabir confirmed that the declaration of the state of emergency was to confront the coronavirus pandemic only and Al-Sarraj cannot use it to pass other decisions. He accused Sarraj of monopolizing decisions in the Presidential Council and misapplication of the Emergency Law, which posed more danger than coronavirus itself.

Al-Sarraj’s letter

It is noteworthy that Chancellor Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives (HOR), had also confirmed in an interview with AL Marsad on May 2 that there was no longer an entity called a Presidential Council because now there is only a President of that Council that monopolizes decisions in contravention with the political agreement by which he claims he abides, let alone the lack of recognition in the first place.

The following is the full text of Al-Kabir’s letter to the President of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) :

Mr. Counselor, Chair of the esteemed Supreme Judicial Council

After compliments,

We have received your letter addressed to us and to the President of the Presidential Council (No. 513) dated 12 April 2020. The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) would like to indicate the following:

First: Concerning “Second” and “Third” in your letter on the “exceptional” legitimacy granted by the state of emergency decision to the head of the executive authority, we would like to inform you as follows:

• As per the Law, the declaration of the state of emergency must be by a higher authority than the executive authority, which can only propose such a declaration. Decision (No. 209/2020) issued by the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) did not abide by that. Besides, there is no reference in its preamble to the convention of the Presidential Council to adopt this decision.

Under Article (2) of the Decree-Law issued in 1955 on the State of Emergency, the procedures or measures taken under a state of emergency are not valid unless they address the specific reason for declaring the state of emergency. There is no disagreement that the recent declaration of the state of emergency was only to address the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, such a state of emergency does not justify any other decision related to such issues, which are not novel or emergencies. In this context, we assert here that the CBL has taken all the measures within its competencies to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

Second: The exceptional situation that forms the basis of declaring the state of emergency does not allow the executive authority to violate the fundamental principles of the state’s system, such as the principle of the rule of law, preserving statehood and its resources, ensuring financial sustainability, separation of powers, respect for public rights and freedoms, and non-arbitrariness in the use of rights.

Third: The valid procedures under the state of emergency, as mentioned above, are only those necessary to face the cause of declaring the state of emergency (confronting the coronavirus pandemic). Therefore, the President of the Presidential Council’s misapplication of such authority to other matters unrelated to the reason for which the emergency was declared (confronting the coronavirus pandemic) is invalid. This includes his request to open the foreign exchange sale system despite the lack of oil production and export and the collapse of its prices in world markets and his request to pay citizens’ salaries before approving the financial arrangements.

The CBL had previously taken the necessary measures in this regard and made its point of view clear.

Fourth: The concentration of powers in the hands of one person (President of the GNA Presidential Council) according to Article (4) of Decision (No. 209/2020) issued by the Presidential Council violates the letter and spirit of the Decree-Law issued in 1955. It also violates the provisions of the Libyan political agreement. Thus, there is a real risk of the misapplication of the state of emergency, which will be more harmful to the country than the danger of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifth: The Decree-Law issued in 1955 on the State of Emergency obligates the executive authority to take specific measures to combat the state of emergency. Article (4) of the Decree-Law stipulates these measures exclusively and thus they are not open for any interpretation or extension.

In conclusion, the CBL counts on the esteemed Libyan judiciary as the guardian of justice, guarantor of rights and freedoms, and the lifeline that supports the stability of the statehood. The CBL reiterates its readiness to cooperate with all institutions in any endeavor that would preserve the state’s suitability and cohesion.

Peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you!

© Al Marsad English (2020)

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