Presidency Refers Parliament's Resolution on Auditing to Premiership

The Presidency on Monday referred to the Premiership a recent Parliament resolution calling for a sweeping financial audit of all state institutions.

In a statement, the Presidency said it has asked the Premiership to “take the legal and executive measures in the issue of the concentrated financial auditing of the accounts of the central bank and the related authorities in line with Cabinet’s resolution number 3, dated March 26, 2020.”

Parliament had voted Friday in favor of the sweeping audit, a week after a foreign consultancy firm terminated its contract to audit the central bank over missing data.

The International Monetary Fund and France are among creditors demanding an audit of Lebanon's central bank as part of urgent reforms to unlock financial support, as the country faces a grinding economic crisis.

But the central bank has claimed that provisions including Lebanon's Banking Secrecy Law prevent it from releasing some of the necessary information, a charge the justice ministry and legal experts have disputed.

Parliament on Friday voted to rule out this justification, clearing the way for the forensic audit to take place.

Economist and anti-government activist Jad Chaaban called parliament's decision "a tactic to win time."

"You didn't need the lifting of bank secrecy or anything to conduct the" audit, he said.

"The problem is again, how do you allow thieves to audit thieves?" he added, referring to authorities.

The forensic audit of the Banque du Liban (BDL) is one of the main points of the government's economic rescue plan, approved at the end of April.

Several officials, including the finance minister, have said the government is expected to replace Alvarez and Marsal with another consultancy firm soon.

Source: Naharnet

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