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The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
12:53 AM Beirut time
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Aridi, Safadi case now with judiciary
Floods block the tunnel on the highway linking Beirut airport to Khalde, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013.(The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
Floods block the tunnel on the highway linking Beirut airport to Khalde, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013.(The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: The case of allegations and counter allegations by two caretaker Cabinet ministers on alleged corruption that led to severe flooding was Tuesday in the hands of the judiciary.

Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim asked the competent authorities to provide him with the text of caretaker Transport and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi’s news conference and caretaker Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi’s television interviews.

A judicial source told The Daily Star that the transcripts would be added to the probe Ibrahim launched in the wake of last week’s downpours that left hundreds of Lebanese stranded for hours in flooded streets.

The source said Ibrahim seeks to investigate allegations made against Safadi that he withheld funds necessary for carrying out road maintenance, including preparations for the winter season.

Aridi told a news conference Monday that Safadi has refused to okay the transport ministry’s funds so as to pressure Aridi to approve an illegal construction violation by the finance minister.

Safadi swiftly denied the allegations in comments made to several television channels.

He said the accusations were part of a “political campaign par excellence” against him in a bid to reduce Safadi’s chances of becoming a prime minister.

Safadi said only some funds for the transport ministry were approved due to the limited prerogatives under a caretaker Cabinet.

Safadi's comments were a response to Aridi's claim that the ministry’s fund shortage is what hampered the implementation of the necessary measures to prepare Lebanon for the winter season.

The Lebanese University in Hadath, south Beirut, and the Beirut airport road took the brunt of the flooding Wednesday.

 
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