Lebanon faces a major challenge .. No aid without a forensic audit of the Central Bank’s accounts

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Beirut – The issue of Lebanon obtaining international aid to save it from the unprecedented crisis that it has been living in for more than a year has become a hostage to the solution to the problem of criminal audit of the accounts of the Central Bank.

On Wednesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun stressed that the issue of criminal scrutiny in the accounts of Banque du Liban is a national issue, and the best way out of the crisis facing the country.

Aoun wrote, after receiving the caretaker Minister of Justice, Marie Claude Najm, tweets published by the Lebanese presidential account on Twitter, in which he said, “Without solving the problem of criminal scrutiny (of central bank accounts), it is not possible to agree with the countries that want to help Lebanon or with the International Monetary Fund. And similar financial bodies ”.

He added, “The issue of forensic auditing is a national issue par excellence, and the best way out of the crisis we are living in.”

The Lebanese President indicated that he wrote to Parliament about criminal scrutiny, with the aim of addressing this “great national tragedy.”

On Tuesday, the Lebanese President sent a message to Parliament, in which he indicated that the criminal audit of the accounts of the Central Bank of Lebanon is a necessity to get out of the list of countries he described as “failed.”

The Lebanese Presidency believes that the criminal investigation will help in assessing the financial losses and documenting evidence and support for the judicial authorities in the legal accountability process.

On Friday, the financial audit firm Alvarez and Messal decided to officially inform Lebanon of its withdrawal from the criminal audit path of the Central Bank of Lebanon.

The international company justified its withdrawal decision by “not obtaining the required information and documents, and its uncertainty about reaching this information,” despite the extension of its work period for an additional three months.

At the beginning of this month, the company asked the Banque du Liban to provide it with the remaining documents by the third of this month, after it provided it with only 42 percent of the required documents.

The Central Bank refused to send the remaining documents, as this “opposes” the Monetary and Credit Law that regulates the work of the Central Bank and banking secrecy, according to what a source in the bank said.

According to Lebanese media, Lebanon will pay a penalty fee of about $ 150,000 for the termination of the agreement by Alvarez and Marsal.

The withdrawal of the financial audit firm was met with French dissatisfaction with the performance of the Lebanese authorities, given that this file is at the forefront of the economic and financial reform priorities required in the French paper.

The forensic examination of the accounts of the Central Bank of Lebanon is the most prominent item in the economic recovery plan that the government approved months ago to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, as it was included in the provisions of the roadmap drawn up by France to help Lebanon get out of the cycle of economic collapse.

And scrutiny is a fundamental requirement of foreign donors and the International Monetary Fund, whose talks with the caretaker government have stalled due to lack of implementation of reforms.

On November 3, the head of the caretaker government at the time, Hassan Diab, asked the central bank to hand over all documents to the international audit company.

Diab considered that any attempt to obstruct the forensic auditing, is classified as a partnership in responsibility for causing the suffering of the Lebanese on the financial, economic and living levels.

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, who was appointed to the post last month, is trying to form a government under the sectarian political system that rules the country to implement reforms that address Lebanon’s worst crisis.

For more than a year, Lebanon has been experiencing a severe economic crisis, the worst since the end of the civil war (1975-1990), which led to a financial collapse, as well as significant material losses incurred by the Central Bank.

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