Hamieh scraps controversial airport expansion 'at Hezbollah request'


Caretaker Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamieh scrapped a deal for a second terminal at Beirut's international airport, after critics raised transparency concerns in the $122 million project.

"Based on a Hezbollah request, I bravely announce that the contract will not be implemented, as if it's null and void," Hamieh said, shortly before the parliamentary public works committee convened.

The committee was supposed to discuss the contracting process of the airport's new terminal.

Last week, Hamieh announced the launch of the new terminal in a ceremony at the grand Serail.

Terminal 2 will bring in private sector investments worth $122 million and will handle 3.5 million passengers annually when operations begin in 2027. It will add six docking stands as well as remote ones, Hamieh said.

The project was criticized by many media outlets and political parties, including the Lebanese Forces, who considered that the mutual agreement between an Irish company and the Lebanese Ministry of Transportation bypassed the laws that require a bidding process.

Some had questioned how a caretaker government with limited powers could announce such a major infrastructure project, in a country where entrenched political barons are accused of systemic corruption.

Civil society organizations and lawmakers noted the absence of a tender process and a lack of involvement of the Public Procurement Authority.

Jean Ellieh, head of the authority, said "the contract did not pass through" the regulatory body as required under a 2021 law.

Last week 10 civil society groups, including Transparency International Lebanon, warned of "serious abuses" in the procurement law's application which "open the door to corruption and nepotism".

Comments 6
Thumb ex-fpm 30 March 2023, 13:36

Hamieh scraps controversial airport expansion 'at Hezbollah request'

and who said Hezbollah does not control and govern Lebanon?

Missing rabiosa 30 March 2023, 18:29

They do run and control the government. i bet they had a hand in this deal, as they control the airport as well.

The funny part is it was withdrawal at the request of Hizbollah and not at the request to Mikati government who was deep in it with Amal and Hamieh

Thumb justice 31 March 2023, 05:01

But Hamieh is an independent expert minister and does not belong to any party:)

Missing HellAndWaite 30 March 2023, 13:56

"I bravely announce that I will not break Lebanese law, as I was being strongly encouraged to do by those who care more for other sovereignty than the country's government"

So brave .. so very brave ...

Missing sioufi 30 March 2023, 15:56

Najib Mikati withdraws his time change support Hezbollah withdraw their support for his airport expansion deal, and it's all good.

Thumb i.report 30 March 2023, 19:29

One could assert that in the current state of affairs, the source of our frustrations and potential inclination towards rebellion is quite clear and well-defined, namely, Hezbollah. It is a well-established fact that they have attained complete control over the nation, and they bear a significant degree of culpability for Lebanon's catastrophic downfall, including the economic collapse and the depreciation of its currency.