Why Was Libya’s Central Bank Governor on A British Navy Ship?

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), Al-Siddiq Al-Kabir appeared on the British HMS Albion, which docked at the Abu Sita Naval Base in Tripoli. He was accompanied by the Deputy Head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Musa Al-Koni.

HMS Albion arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday, in the first visit by the UK Royal Navy to Libya in 8 years. It is part of the Royal Navy’s amphibious response force, which sailed towards the Mediterranean on a European security mission.

According to a statement by the Presidential Council, Al-Koni’s visit came at the invitation of the ship’s Commander, to review aspects of military cooperation between the Libyan and British Navy’s. This is given that the Head of the Presidential Council is the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army.

Al-Kabir’s appearance accompanied by Al-Koni has sparked controversy, especially since Al-Kabir is not related to any military responsibilities in Libya.

He was dismissed from his position as Governor of the CBL by the Libyan Parliament in 2014 due to financial irregularities. It appointed Ali Al-Hibri to replace him.

Over the past 11 years, Al-Kabir committed numerous violations, and was involved in corruption cases, and squandered billions of dinars from state funds. His practices have caused divisions in the country’s banking system.

He has provided financial support to the Muslims Brotherhood in Libya, paid fixed salaries to extremist militias, authorised suspicious arms deals, opened fictitious lines of credit, manipulated frozen funds, and transferred funds to Turkish banks.

He also misused oil revenues to pay the salaries of the Syrian mercenaries during the 2019 civil war. He also used CBL funds to buy weapons, military equipment, and Turkish drones to support militias in western Libya. His actions prompted Libyan tribes to close oil fields, denouncing the use of money to bring in mercenaries.

Corruption spread in the CBL under the management of Al-Kabir, as foreign currency was smuggled through documentary credits. Oversight reports monitored abuses within the CBL under his management, the latest of which was issued by the Audit Bureau for the year 2021.