DOCUMENTS | Bashagha Acquires Hyundai Agency in the Name of the Interior Ministry – Al Marsad

Fathi Bashagha and his obsession with cars seems to be a topic of regular jokes among Libyans on social media. However, as AlMarsad reveals through documents leaked from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the connection between Bashagha and cars is not so innocent but points to abuse of power and financial corruption.

(Libya, 14 January 2021) – The multi-million dollar contracts of the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in importing new cars and various motorized vehicles have long remained on the down-low. There has been neither an investigated by the media nor any information on its acquisition been disclosed by the Ministry. The GNA’s Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha regularly promotes news of new vehicles purchases for the purposes of propaganda and to showcase to the international community how he is fighting criminality and corruption, and yet he has not been forthcoming with details on the contracts. 

AL-FAIAH HOLDING COMPANY AND BASHAGHA’S SON

The leaked documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tripoli,  involve correspondence with the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea dated 21s December 2020, which states that Al-Faiah Holding Company, owned by the Interior Ministry, was the exclusive government agent for the Hyundai brand in Libya.

A copy of the Arabic Letter by the GNA Foreign Ministry to the Korean Embassy.

The letter, sent in both Arabic and English, stated that a person named Husen Mohamed Al-Mahdi Jaroud, a Misratan merchant close to Bashagha, as AlMarasd sources also confirmed, was the representative of this company commissioned by the Interior Ministry.

A copy of the English translation of the Arabic letter by the GNA Foreign Ministry to the Korean Embassy.

Another relevant document obtained by AlMarsad revealed more names in this newly established company and its board of directors headed by Mabrouk Hassan al-Yaser from Khoms.

The real capital owner of the company, however, turns out to be Muhammad Fathi Bashagha, son of the minister himself, Fathi Bashagha. The aim of this deal was to overthrow the trade of Muhammad al-Taher Issa, a businessman from Misrata who had obtained agency for Hyundai and had a very bad relationship with Bashagha for years, as is known between various “commercial and militia” circles in the city.

According to the same sources, Bashagha has effectively abused his official ministerial position for personal purposes, and it is therefore a crime worthy of accountability and even suspension.

Minutes of the meeting of the establishment of Al-Faiah Holding Company.

Last November, Muhammad Bashagha held his wedding in Misrata during a period when there was a ban in holding social events due to COVID-19. But this did not stop the Bashaghas. The type and number of cars that appeared at his wedding ,and at his home, were remarkable. The images sparked surprise on social media because those connected and involved with the Libya Dawn Operation in 2014, which was supervised by Fathi Bashagha all came from ordinary families—‚but what appeared in the wedding videos was out of keeping with Bashagha’s previous career status either as a boycotting member of the HoR or a Misratan tire dealer.

The Foreign Ministry documents revealed that Husen Mohamed Al-Mahdi Jaroud also represented the GNA with the International Hapkido Federation. Hapkido is a hybrid Korean martial art that resembles karate, and some countries are members of its Federation of Security and Training Affairs.

The correspondence stated that Al-Faiah Holding Company, affiliated with the Ministry of Interior, had become the exclusive government agent of Hyundai. All government contracts needed from Hyundai must therefore pass through Al-Faiah Holding Company given that the Libyan state contracts from time to time not the import of cars but also air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, and other products of the Korean industry.

Last April, Ahmed al-Tuweibi, Director of Bashagha’s office, applied to the Audit Bureau in Tripoli to be exempted from the prior review of a contract worth more than 20.6 million Euros for the import of 30 armoured vehicles. The cost of the cars was inflated with each car costing 686,000 Euros, and the total for 30 armoured cars totalling 4.8 million LYD.

It is noteworthy that this is not the first time that Bashagha’s Ministry has submitted requests for exemption from review to the Audit Bureau, which is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (JCP)—who are Bashagha’s allies. It was Khaled Shakshak, the head of the Audit Bureau and a Muslim Brotherhood leader who continues to support Bashagha’s bid to head the new interim government, which they claim will last only 10 months until the December 2021 elections.

The Interior Ministry had previously submitted requests to the Audit Bureau for the exemption from inspection by banks at ports on their supplies through associated companies through credits obtained in foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Libya, and other commercial banks such as the Jumhouria Bank. The procedure for banks to verify goods that have been granted credit for import is customary in order to ensure that there is no smuggling or illicit profit being made. Given Bashagha’s slogans of wanting to build a civil state and his apparent claim to be fighting corruption, the constant habit of bypassing regular procedures that other ordinary citizens have to go through, seems to be a perpetual feature the way he runs the Ministry of Interior.

This case reveals something of the corrupt car trade inside Bashagha’s Ministry and the remarkable scale of supplies of various types at exorbitant prices, taking advantage of the chaotic security and economic situation. And if that wasn’t all, Bashagha is also busy with his carefully crafted PR to draw more hundreds of millions of dollars with the pretext of “catching snakes” for his bid to be the prime minister of LPDF’s new interim government.

DENIAL OF KNOWLEDGE BY THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR

Since AlMarsad’s Arabic edition published this story today, an official of the Legal Department of the GNA‘s Interior Ministry told AlMarsad: “Our administration is not aware of the Hyundai contract nor the value of the contracts for the rest of the cars, and most of them are directly commissioned by Fathi Bashagha, his office and his department for specific companies.”

© ALMARSAD ENGLISH (2021)