After Years of Close Cooperation, Bashagha Suddenly Discovers that Khaled Shakshak is “Partisan and not Neutral” – Al Marsad

The outgoing Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fathi Bashagha, accused the Audit Bureau of publishing its report to the media without referring it to the judiciary, and that it was aimed to defame him and settle political scores. Sources revealed to AlMarsad that the dispute arose after Shakshak’s publication of the report, which has been blocked since 2019 by orders from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (JCP), and specifically by Khaled al-Mishri, who wanted to inflict revenge on Bashagha for replacing him in the LPDF ticket with Usama Juwaili, which led to his withdrawal of al-Mishri.

(LIBYA, 13 March 2021) – Fathi Bashagha said in a tweet on his official page on Saturday morning, that Khaled Shakshak’s affiliation with the Justice and Construction Party denies him the standard of neutrality and impartiality and that his continued position was a violation of the principles of integrity and transparency.

Photos of previous meetings between Shakshak and Bashagha, discussing cooperation between the Ministry of Interior and the Diwan (2019-2020).

BASHAGHA PRAISED SAWAN BUT CRITICISES SHAKSHAK

In the same tweet, however, Bashagha praised his ally Mohamed Sawan, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (JCP), who was his partner in the Operation Fajr Libya. It was Sawan who pressured Sarraj to appoint Bashagha as Minister of Interior and then as the party’s preferred candidate Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). Bashagha said Sawan had played a positive role in pushing the political and consensual process forward, and despite Khaled Shakshak being affiliated to the JCP, he decided to violate integrity of his post.

Sources revealed to AlMarsad that the dispute arose after Shakshak’s publication of the report, which has been blocked since 2019 by orders from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (JCP), and specifically by Khaled al-Mishri, who wanted to inflict revenge on Bashagha for replacing him in the LPDF ticket with Usama Juwaili, which led to the withdrawal of al-Mishri.

It is known that Khaled Shakshak has been using the reports for political purposes, and delayed their publication each and every time. The delay allowed political reprieve for corrupt officials within the GNA, and he also allowed exemption from the prior review of internal transactions. All of which through an interesting light on Bashagha’s current denunciations of Shakshak’s party given that he and his Ministry of Interior have been one of the main beneficiaries of the reporting delays and review exemptions.

Failing to Install Bashagha, Muslim Brotherhood’s JCP Allows Audit Bureau to Publish 2019 Report

BASHAGHA CLOSE TO SHAKSHAK

Bashagha also described the Audit Bureau and its president as partisan. He accused Shakshak of usurping his position given that his ended in 2017, but Bashagha failed to mention the various meetings he had with Shakshak on cooperation between his Interior Ministry and the Audit Bureau since 2017. Give the close association between both, Bashagha’s allegations of partisanship sounds, according to Libyan experts, more like a desperate move to avoid scrutiny on the corruption in his Interior Ministry.

AUDIT REPORT DETAILS CORRUPTION IN INTERIOR MINISTRY

The Tripoli Audit Bureau released its withheld report for 2019 a day after the government of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbaiba won the confidence of the House of Representatives (HoR). According to the report obtained by Al-Marsad newspaper, it included corruption and major violations in the Ministry of Interior (MOI) of the GNA, with MOI expenditures jumping by 267%, an increase of 2.4 billion between 2016 and 2019. The MOI also did not strive to be precise in its financial records and in preparing estimated budgets.

The report added that the MOI did not return the remainder of the 2018 budget which was unused, and instead spent it on independent financial authorities in violation of the country’s financial law, including the Parliament’s. The MOI also purchased cars at inflated prices by purchasing directly from specific suppliers and intentionally followed the same process in purchasing and construction work. Contracts with more than 104 million LYD were given to two companies via direct purchasing for 37 transactions, and it was not clear whether the cars were actually received.

The Audit Bureau said that the MOI was chaotic in disbursing funds and did not separate accounts, and there is a clear discrepancy between its actual and estimated revenues. It also added that the MOI did not settle travel expenses and allowances, and its financial documentation was weak.

The report also mentioned a  transfer of 30 million LYD was deposited by the Ministry of Defense without explaining its purpose; the Ministry of Interior obtained 407 million LYD from outside its budget. It also confirmed that the MOI delivered cars to entities and individuals not connected to its sector, which is considered irresponsible spending of public money. Most of the violations through contracts lack proper legal process.

Since the publishing of the report, and given the details that clearly allude to corruption not just within the Ministry of Interior, but also within other entities, there has been a demand from experts and activists that the data should be given to the judiciary to investigate them more thoroughly and take appropriate legal action.

© ALMARSAD ENGLISH (2021)

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