Sukleen and Sukomi Slam Accusations of Failure
The waste contractor for Greater Beirut, Sukleen and Sukomi stressed that the increase in the “value of their contracts” came as the result of the expansion in size and geographical scope of their work in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, slamming media reports questioning their integrity in handling the waste management file.
“The expansion in the size and geographical area of our work in the capital Beirut and Mount Lebanon was the main reason behind the increase in the contract work,” a statement by Sukleen said on Thursday.
Early in March, Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim filed a lawsuit against Sukleen and Sukomi firms on charges of “squandering public funds” in their handling of waste management in the country in the past two decades, media reports had said.
The statement added that the companies were not responsible for the selection of locations that are currently receiving the trash from the capital and Mount Lebanon following the closure of the Naameh landfill.
“We are not responsible for selecting the sites where the trash is currently being stored,” the statement said.
It added: “Since July 17, 2015 (the date of the closure of the Naameh landfill) both companies were complying with official requests by the concerned municipalities.”
Furthermore, Sukleen and Sukomi “denounce all accusations fired against them,” pointing that they “will stand before the First Investigative Magistrate Ghassan Oweidat to clarify and answer all the questions put to their representatives.”
They pointed out that they were adamant to commit to the terms of the signed contract and that they have no political alignments.
“We refuse to bear responsibility or the consequences for the decisions taken by the successive Lebanese governments, the Council for Development and Reconstruction or the concerned ministries because we were not part of them.”
Judge Ibrahim's move is based on the lawsuit that has been filed by Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel against the Council for Development and Reconstruction for its long running failure to follow up on the trash management file since Sukleen and its subsidiary Sukomi were tasked with collecting, sorting and land-filling garbage in Beirut and Mount Lebanon in 1994.
Reports have emerged that Sukleen has failed to abide by the conditions that were set in the contract with regard to the amounts of trash that should have been sorted, recycled and land-filled.
Lebanon's most recent trash management crisis erupted in July 2015 after the closure of the Naameh landfill that. Several efforts to contain the situation including suggestions to establish landfills in different Lebanese regions have failed.
The crisis, which sparked unprecedented protests against the entire political class, has seen streets, forests and riverbanks overflowing with waste and the air filled with the smell of rotting and burning garbage.