BEIRUT: Environment Minister Nazem Khoury slammed Monday accusers that hold him responsible for a sand transfer dispute that resulted in the death of two last week.
“It is unjust to hold a minister of the environment responsible [for the crime] because the ministry does not give licenses for stone and sand quarries,” Khoury said during a press conference at the ministry.
Last week Anthony Khalil, from the Kesrouan town of Harajel, shot dead Ghassan Saifeddine and his son Hadi in Wata al-Jozz. The victims were from the mostly-Shiite town of Lassa in Jbeil.
Khalil, who later handed himself to authorities Sunday, was fighting with Saifeddine over his right to transfer sand from a nearby quarry.
Khoury said that the National Council of Quarries, not the Environment Ministry, was the authority that grants permits to stone and land quarries in Harajel.
The National Council of Quarries has representatives in many ministries, including the Environment Ministry. “The ministry’s role is to give its opinion on whether a permit should be given.”