Presidency Accuses Franjieh of 'Protecting Fugitives'
The Lebanese Presidency hit back Monday at Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh after he launched his fiercest political attack ever against President Michel Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement and claimed that Lebanon has no oil or gas reserves.
“The most honest thing that Mr. Franjieh said was that he stands by his people whether they are wrongdoers or accused of receiving bribes. And instead of boasting of his protection of fugitives, Mr. Franjieh should have lifted the cover off them and allowed them to appear before the judiciary, which is the competent authority to acquit them or convict them,” the Presidency's press office said in a statement.
“Anyhow, this issue remains in the hands of the judiciary, which alone has the right to take the appropriate measures,” the press office added.
“Most of Mr. Franjieh's intemperate remarks are baseless and false, and accordingly are not worthy of a response, although they were full of insults that harm Lebanon's reputation, interest, economy, role and presence in its neighborhood and the world, especially what he mentioned about the issue of oil and gas exploration,” the office said.
Franjieh's stances were voiced during a press conference that he held to comment on the controversy over the counterfeit fuel file.
The head of the Energy Ministry's oil facilities department "Sarkis Hleis will appear before the judiciary, but not before the justice of (FPM chief) Jebran Bassil and the judges of Jebran Bassil," Franjieh said.
Noting that he believes in Hleis' "innocence," Franjieh said his movement's conscience is "very clear."
"The judiciary will decide whether Sarkis Hleis is guilty or not and we consider the counterfeit fuel file a politicized file, because the side and judges who raised it are known," Franjieh added.