Washington Times: Kabir Network of Businessmen-Enablers Exploit Black Market that Sustains Militias – Al Marsad

The Washington Times said in an article published on Thursday that the governor of the Central Bank of Libya, Siddik al-Kabir, and his allies, control significant amounts of revenues and have built a network of businessmen-enablers who exploit a black market and shadow economy for illicit profits.

It said that, aside from the political quagmire in Libya, the country faces corruption within it’s financial system and which continues to be a major stumbling block for economic stability. Libyan businesses and private citizens are “often unable to carry out basic financial transactions.”

The article argued that the CBL Governor Siddik al-Kabir and his network is alleged to “control significant amounts of revenues and have built a network of businessmen-enablers who exploit a black market and shadow economy for illicit profits.” This, argued the Washington Times, undermined the Libyan economy and channeled “cash to the covert militias, which foment unrest in the country.”

It noted that the audit conducted by Deloitte, at the behest of the UN Office for Project Services, concluded reunification of the CBL was a requirement, but that this conclusion was rejected firmly by Siddik al-Kabir. Kabir has been sacked at least twice by the Libyan Parliament but has until now refused to step down from his position. He seems to have gained a new lease of life with Abdul Hamid Dbaiba, who relies on Kabir and funds from the CBL for his spending, even though the budget has not yet been approved by the Parliament.

Kabir was also seen to be part of Dbaiba’s ministerial delegation during state visits abroad, the most recent ones being to Turkey, Niger, Egypt, and Qatar.

The article by the Washington Times, also cited the International NGO Global Witness report of February 2021 which exposed  “rampant fraud in the CBL.” The report is said to have outlined how abuses in CBL’s letters of credit system was “diverting millions of dollars of public funds and, at the same time, being exploited to fund militias and other malign actors devoted to destabilizing the country.” Since the 2011 revolution, “Libya has relied on the letters of credit as the only official pipeline of foreign currency for Libyan businesses and public authorities to buy food, medicine, equipment, and services from overseas.”

The report urged President Joe Biden’s administration to support the Libyan elections so that an elected government can coordinate with Washington and international financial institutions to preserve Libyan funds from the current absurd situation. Elections are the best means to ensure proper accountability and badly needed reform policies.

The Presidential and Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 24 December 2021, although efforts persist by the Dbaiba government and the Islamist block to derail the elections altogether.



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