Since the fall of the previous regime in 2011, Libya has been grappling with rampant corruption and mismanagement. In recent years, the theft and smuggling of funds to foreign territories have become all too common, severely depleting the nation’s riches.
Periodically, Libya’s Attorney General sheds light on alarming corruption scandals. High-ranking officials, even ambassadors, have found themselves entangled in these investigations. Some have faced prison time or been ousted from their roles, but numerous cases linger unresolved.
Historic revelations from the Libyan Audit Bureau present a concerning picture, documenting episodes where key Ministers and officials brazenly misused public finances.
Recent incidents highlight a concerning uptrend in money laundering. One notable case involved the interception of a major smuggling operation at Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli. The culprit, a chief hospitality officer from the African Airlines, attempted to smuggle a staggering 3 million euros and 25 kilograms of gold, meant for Cairo International Airport.
In another revelation, the Attorney General announced the apprehension of two ex-general Managers of the Sahara Bank and a key bank official. Their alleged misconduct was enabling certain companies to illicitly access foreign currency totaling 70 million dollars. These funds, ostensibly earmarked for importing goods, were rerouted into a parallel currency market.
Further intensifying concerns, a verdict from a Misrata criminal court found two individuals guilty of collaborating with an organisation aimed at illicitly obtaining funds from the Central Bank of Libya. Their ill-gotten gains amounted to 128 million dollars and an additional 5 million euros.
Yet, these exposed attempts are but the tip of the iceberg. For decades, countless successful operations have smuggled untold millions out of Libya, often coinciding with the country’s numerous militia confrontations.
Experts argue that this rampant corruption is exacerbated by Libya’s enduring political fragmentation. Unfortunately, its government’s transient nature has paved the way for unchecked raids on the state’s treasury and the squandering of public assets.