Aridi Resigns from Cabinet after Being Questioned on Corruption Linked to Floods

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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.

Comments 15
Thumb EagleDawn 16 December 2013, 13:59

"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."

There were no conflicting reports! The drains spoke for themselves. This whole government was installed by an evil corrupt party and included corrupt ministers. They all got rich while the people got poor.

Default-user-icon Georges Breidy (Guest) 16 December 2013, 14:05

It was about time...enough stolen money. Hope it's the start of the domino effect and that all our dear politicians would follow Aridi if they still have any sense of decency and ethics (a big word they may have never heard of!!)

Missing --karim_m3-- 16 December 2013, 14:09

Good riddance.

Thumb cedars2 16 December 2013, 14:25

Translation: I've managed to put enough money in my swiss bank accounts and now I'm taking a long break to enjoy spending it till the next government comes along and the Lebanese vote for me again...

Thumb benzona 16 December 2013, 15:00

How much did he steal? As much as Basil? I doubt it.

Default-user-icon guest (Guest) 16 December 2013, 19:51

I think he stole more than enough!!

Missing sanctify 16 December 2013, 15:47

So for once a minister gets questioned and he runs away?!?!?!
The sad part is that he gets away with it as well.

This is not about Mr Aridi alone but probably over 90% of ministers that have taken office since 1943.

Thumb cedars2 16 December 2013, 15:58

Very true.

Missing applesandoranges 16 December 2013, 16:15

You are absolutely right. In a few years time, the M14 non-believers shall bare witness to the canonization of Saint Bassil.

Default-user-icon sicamoreaz (Guest) 16 December 2013, 16:50

Nobody will notice a difference, believe me.

Thumb geha 16 December 2013, 16:52

I think it was last Christmas or the one before when it was known that the wife of Aridi bought chocolate for around US$200000.
that does not make all the others clean :) especially the fpm and berry :)
the law of "where did you get that" should be applied on these thieves.

Default-user-icon the fool (Guest) 16 December 2013, 17:16

look at this pix:
you have 2 thieves, first one get caught and admits to stealing, the second one is still on the run. Do you call the first one an honest person? now blow up this image ten folds, this is our govt. This means we can end up with all of them portrayed as "honest people".
enough said.

Missing applesandoranges 16 December 2013, 17:46

Your civility bar is very high.
Your respectful behavior is an example to us all.
We can only aspire to follow in your courteous and polite footsteps.
God bless.

Missing peace 16 December 2013, 21:32


Thumb grimreaper 17 December 2013, 01:52

gabby14....special grave #13