Lebanon News

Financial prosecutor charges Sukleen in corruption case

Activist spray painted slogans on Sukleen headquarters' wall in Karantina, Beirut. On Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's financial prosecutor charged a company and its parent firm responsible for managing Beirut and Mount Lebanon's waste with squandering public funds Wednesday, days after Kataeb Party chief Sami Gemayel filed a lawsuit against them.

"Finally, the judiciary makes a move," Gemayel wrote on his Twitter account after the announcement was made that Sukleen and Sukomi were charged.

He has repeatedly urged the judiciary to follow up on a previous complaint lodged against Sukleen over allegations of corruption.

He accuses the company of neglecting its duties by burying the trash in landfills rather than sorting it.

Sukleen in a statement last week stressed that it had always cooperated with Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim and had always operated within the confines of its contract with the government.

It argues that this contract stipulated that 80 percent of the waste could be sent to landfills and the remaining 20 percent must be treated. Gemayel had previously said that the opposite ought to be done.

On Tuesday, Gemayel proposed that officials transfer Beirut and Mount Lebanon's trash to remote areas along Lebanon's eastern mountain range until sustainable solutions are located.

"Waste should be lifted off streets and placed temporarily in remote areas such as along the eastern mountain range to diminish the chances of diseases as temperatures are set to soar," Gemayel warned in a joint news conference with Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kanaan, after attending the Parliament's Finance and Budget Committee.

He warned of a health crisis, proposing the establishment of a parliamentary investigation committee called on the Parliament to hand over the garbage corruption file to Kanaan, head of the committee.

The Cabinet has failed since the closure of the infamous Naameh landfill in July 2015 to locate a sustainable solution to the country’s waste problem.

Trash has been dumped in sometimes hazardous locations, such as in residential areas, forests and valleys as well as along some coastal areas.

 

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