Aridi Resigns from Cabinet after Being Questioned on Corruption Linked to Floodsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Caretaker Transportation and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi announced on Monday his resignation from government in light of recent corruption allegations.
He said during a press conference that he will “cease his caretaker role from cabinet and take a break from politics.”
Earlier on Monday, Financial Prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim questioned Aridi over allegations of corruption after a spat with caretaker Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi.
The state-run National News Agency said Aridi briefed Ibrahim on the details of a press conference he made earlier this month to accuse Safadi of withholding funds from his ministry for road maintenance in an effort to pressure him into approving a construction violation by the finance minister.
But Safadi has denied the allegations in remarks to several local TV stations. He accused Aridi of launching a political campaign against him.
The finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it was coordinating with the financial prosecutor.
Ibrahim has asked Safadi “to provide him with information pertaining to the finance ministry and nothing else,” it said in a statement.
It was not clear when the prosecutor would question Safadi.
Aridi's accusations came after rainwater caused floods in Beirut streets, leaving thousands of motorists stranded for hours.
Safadi shrugged off the accusations that the finance ministry was responsible for the failure to perform maintenance on sewage networks.
Later commenting on the affair during his press conference, Aridi said: “The finance ministry has nothing to do with the flooding in Beirut.”
“I did not make baseless accusations linked to this case,” he added.
He also revealed that conflicting reports had been made by the concerned authorities and companies over whether the rain drains had been cleaned ahead of the advent of winter.
Moreover, he said that he was subject to “a lot of forms of pressure” over the corruption file, including suggestions to dismiss the issue.
“The truth in this affair should not be lost and the people's interests should be preserved,” stressed Aridi.