Audit Bureau is to Publish its 2018 Report Amid Sarraj-Brotherhood Conflict – Al Marsad

Although the auditors of the Audit Bureau in Tripoli finalized their 2018 reports since the beginning of 2019 as inputs for the Bureau’s annual report for that same year, that report has not been published so far, the first time for at least ten years. The Administrative Control Authority (ACA) in Bayda issued its annual report, although late too.

“The Muslim Brotherhood takes the credit as being the first in the history of Libya to withhold two audit reports for two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019.”

(Libya, 16 September 2020) – In light of the crisis and the media bickering between the Audit Bureau, its president, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (JCP) accompanied by the member of the party Khaled al-Mishri on one hand, and Abdulrahman Al-Sweihli, the former Chair of the High Council of State, on the other hand—demands have once again emerged on social media for Khaled Shakshak to publish the 2018 report immediately and without deliberate delay.

This issue has gained particular prominence amid the recurring accusations that the Bureau’s presidency is subordinate to the JCP and its policies and plans for Muslim Brotherhood’s empowerment and infiltration throughout the entire state—disproportionately with its meagre results in all elections—especially with the repeated leaks of violation by only its opponents as is the case with Swehli.

Today, Wednesday, the Audit Bureau announced it plans to publish the 2018 report soon after the so-called “reasons for its blocking,” ceased to exist. However, the Bureau neither clarified nor revealed such reasons despite the lapse of two years. Such an announcement comes in light of the escalating tensions between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Sarraj, whose government’s corruption is the focus of this report.

However, Shakshak and the JCP have not only hidden the 2018 report but also deliberately concealed the 2019 report, which was also finalized by the auditors and observers in the Audit Bureau and was supposed to be issued no later than April 2020. In this way, the Muslim Brotherhood takes the credit as being the first in the history of Libya to withhold two audit reports for two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019. This did not happen even at the height of the institutional chaos in 2011 when the Bureau’s report was issued including sections on the General People’s Committee for the year 2010 and another on the Executive Office and the Transitional Council for that same year.

The generally accepted principle is that the Bureau’s annual report should not be late for the entire following year but rather must be issued between March and April each year for the previous year (for example, the 2018 report should have been issued by April 2019 at the latest). Al-Marsad has tried repeatedly to obtain a comment from Khaled Shakshak, the outgoing head of the Bureau under the Bureau Law, but it could not reach him despite multiple attempts. He refused to speak with our journalists thus confirming his involvement in the ideological dispute between his party and Al-Marsad.

Several observers, auditors, and responsible sources in the Bureau revealed to Al-Marsad that they had delivered all their reports, which form the basis of the two main annual reports for the years 2018 and 2019. They asserted that their issuance has been delayed for “unknown reasons” despite they have been ready for nearly two years.

They also argued that the 2018 report would have been the thickest in years in terms of the gross violations and the “shameful and horrific” extent of corruption involving former and current ministers in the Presidential Council. They warned against any attempt to intentionally conceal or tamper with it to serve the JCP’s agenda in a way that would deprive the Bureau as an entity of its integrity and impartiality given some parties’ false claims on fighting corruption, such as Fathi Bashagha and his friend Khaled al-Mishri.

The report also contains grave violations of several Libyan embassies and consulates abroad run by hanger-on ambassadors close to the Presidential Council and its government, including the embassies of Libya in Egypt, Turkey, Italy, and other embassies of treatment missions in addition to serious administrative and legal violations by officials affiliated with the JCP to which Shakshak belongs.

The 2018 report also contains, according to the same sources, serious violations of the Presidential Council in terms of increased expenses on travel and other issues, in addition to the Council’s allocation of a special budget for its cabinet and another for the Prime Minister’s cabinet though they do the same work for the same entity. Moreover, the report contains observations about the money that the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) and the Presidential Council earn from foreign exchange tax.

According to the same sources, the report highlights the violations of the armed groups affiliated to the Ministry of Interior, the documentary credits file, and other grave breaches and terrifying plunder, in addition to the violations of the Ministry of Defense, whose duties have been assumed by Fayez al-Sarraj since he dismissed al-Mahdi al-Barghathi after the Brak al-Shati massacre in 2017.

It is noteworthy that Sarraj meets with the head of the Audit Bureau, Khaled Shakshak, periodically to follow up on the steering of this stage in light of the war and its needs, especially treatment files and so on. Some of the meetings were attended by Finance Minister Faraj Boumtari, as is the case in the meetings that took place over recently. The year 2019 ended without the 2018 report being issued at a time when the 2019 report is supposed to be issued during the next month of 2020.

Officials from the Bureau expressed their fears to Al-Marsad that Shakshak would succumb to pressures by the Presidential Council, its armed groups, and the JCP, to obstruct the issuance of the report, distort, alter, or manipulate it under the pretext that the time of war is not suitable for its publication. This contradicts the principles of transparency in the civil state, the right of citizens to know facts, and the anti-corruption slogan that Shakshak claims to adhere to in light of reports of his real estate interests in Turkey. This would make the Bureau, whic is supposed to be an independent supervisory body, part of the political game and chronic cronyism.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)

 

FURTHER LINKS

Covering Corruption: Sweihli Accuses Mishri and Shakshak of Obstructing International Audit of Central Bank

شكشك يواصل حجب تقرير المحاسبة 2018 عن الليبيين دون مبرر

مستند | السويحلي ينشر دليل براءته من إتهامات شكشك وحزبه ويتهمهم بالهدر في إسطنبول

دجل الإخوان .. شكشك يواصل حجب التقارير للعام الثاني وحزبه يطالب بالشفافية لمحاربة الفساد

 

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