Miqati, Safadi Exchange Accusations over Payment of Share to STLإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati denied on Sunday that his office had referred to the audit bureau a decree on the payment of Lebanon's share to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, drawing accusations and counter accusations between him and the finance ministry.
In a statement issued by his press office on Sunday morning, Miqati said the premiership had referred the decree to the finance ministry to ask for the transfer of Lebanon's share to the tribunal. But a ministry official referred it instead to the audit bureau.
Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi should have followed up the procedure through the administrative units of his ministry, it said.
The statement came after Safadi confirmed to al-Mustaqbal daily published on Sunday that the decree for the payment of Lebanon's share had been issued after President Michel Suleiman, Miqati and himself signed it.
But he expressed surprise at Miqati's alleged transfer of the decree to the audit bureau.
He added that the finance ministry would make the payment immediately after the decree is sent back to the ministry.
However, the caretaker premier said Safadi's statement was “not accurate.”
The ministry issued a statement after Miqati's denial, saying the signed decree was sent automatically by “the official in charge of the expenses at the premiership” to the audit bureau as required by law.
But Miqati snapped back in a second statement, saying the employee is “a staff member of the finance ministry and is administratively linked to the finance minister.”
“The employee is in charge of approving the expenses of all public administrative institutions" and not just the premiership, he added.
Lebanon is obligated to pay 49 percent of the STL's budget.
The tribunal was set up by the United Nations at Lebanon's request. It seeks to try five Hizbullah members for the attack that killed ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and 22 others on Feb. 14, 2005, at the Beirut seafront.