Lebanon News

Fadlallah submits documents to financial prosecutor for missing state funds probe

MP Hasan Fadlallah walks out of Justice Palace, Feb. 28, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The head of Hezbollah’s anti-corruption bureau Thursday submitted documents to Lebanon's financial prosecutor to support allegations he made earlier this week regarding missing public funds.

“The judiciary is to decide how to proceed in the investigation” and reveal how “billions of dollars from the people’s money” was spent, MP Hassan Fadlallah said in televised remarks after a meeting with Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim.

Ibrahim told LBCI TV station after receiving the documents that he started his investigation into the allegations by summoning an employee at the Finance Ministry.

Fadlallah had called for the probe during a news conference Monday, but at the time said billions of Lebanese pounds, rather than dollars, had disappeared.

He had also alleged earlier this month there were “manipulated and missing financial documents that could land a lot of people in jail ... including ex-prime ministers who may be held accountable.”

Many suspected the allegations to be a reference to former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who has been previously accused of spending $11 billion in extra-budgetary spending during his premiership between 2005 and 2009.

Siniora’s media office denied the allegations in a statement Tuesday and said the former premier will hold a news conference Friday morning to address the claims.

But Fadlallah pointed out at Thursday’s news conference he “did not name or accuse anyone,” and was thus unconcerned with the ensuing controversy. “If [anyone] wants to clear their name, they can head to the judiciary,” he said.

The MP said that what he submitted to Ibrahim was just one portion of a wider investigation into extra-budgetary spending, and that Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil will submit a comprehensive report to Parliament later, echoing similar remarks made by Khalil earlier this week.

Khalil had told Al Joumhouria newspaper that he was looking into “big errors” in the financial logs of some government institutions as part of the investigation, “but determining whether these errors are due to neglect, theft or wasting is a judicial issue.”

He said the ministry had finished checking state financial accounts from 1990 to 2017, which summed up to around 30,000 files.

 

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