On Tuesday, the Libyan Audit Bureau issued its annual report for the year 2021. It monitored wholesale violations found in the Government of National Unity (GNU), the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), and the National Oil Corporation (NOC).
The report, which was composed of 18 chapters, monitored the financial situation of the country and the results of reviewing and evaluating the performance of various sectors.
Among the violations of the GNU, large sums of money were spent from the emergency expenses band, unrelated to the nature of the account, such as booking travel tickets and hotel accommodation.
The GNU Cabinet Office spent 12 million Libyan dinars (LYD) to buy watches as gifts for the guests of Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba. As well as the maintenance and cleaning expenses for Dbaiba’s suite, which amounted to 1.6 million LYD per month.
The government also directly assigned contractors for development projects, as an alternative to public tenders. This is a clear deviation from the principles of integrity and transparency, and in violation of the organising regulations and legislation.
The entities which received these funds evaded the Audit Bureau review. These funds amounted to about 20 billion LYD, representing contractual commitments that have no financial coverage.
The report monitored an exaggeration in expenditures, such as spending by the GNU Cabinet Office to supply meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the months of June and July, which amounted to more than 1.9 million LYD.
Millions were spent on supplies, phones, computers, maintenance of cars and offices, in violation of the administrative contracts regulation. Flight tickets and hotel reservations were also booked for people who have no relationship with the Cabinet Office.
The Audit Bureau report mentioned that Deputy Prime Minister, Ramadan Abu Janah spent 337,000 LYD on housing and expenses in Tripoli’s Radisson Blu Al-Mahary Hotel.
The report also included numerous violations by several ministries, such as the spending of 155,000 LYD by the Ministry of Higher Education to purchase iPhone 13 Pro Max phones for employees.
The report also mentioned numerous violations committed by the former Chairman of the NOC, Mustafa Sanalla. These included the exporting of 16 billion LYD worth of oil shipments, outside the general budget.
The 2021 report monitored wholesale violations committed by the CBL, in its management of assets and public money.
It said that the CBL, “operates selectively and without a board of directors, withholding many important documents and information about its true status from audit committees. The balance of foreign currency in the Central Bank allocated to cover the issuance of local currency decreased by $23 billion from the previous year.”
The report pointed out that the Central Bank, “is clearly failing to monitor banks effectively, as evidenced by the rise in cases against the Al-Jumhouria Bank, amounting to 140 LYD million.”
It also pointed out that the CBL has “contributed to banks and financial institutions that were exposed to losses and debts in the tens of millions,” and “there is no vision or clear goals for the bank in investment and foreign contributions.”
The Audit Bureau report has sparked widespread controversy in the country, especially on social media. Many activists expressed their astonishment at the amount of money wasted by the GNU in a single year.
In an attempt to quell the anger, Dbaiba addressed a letter to the ministries and public bodies affiliated with the Cabinet. He asked them to “prepare responses to the observations of the Audit Bureau’s report for the year 2021 and to present them in the media within a week.”