By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 28 June 2013:
The row between the prime minister Ali Zeidan and the acting chief of staff Salem Gnaidi . . .[restrict]deepened today when Gnaidi flatly rejected Zeidan’s contention that the army had received sufficient funding to allow it to intervene in the inter-militia fighting that gripped parts of Tripoli this week.
Gnaidi originally made this claim on Wednesday which Zeidan rebutted yesterday, at the same time that he announced that Defence Minister Mohammed Al-Barghathi had been fired. The prime minister said that Gnaidi’s remarks were “political and inappropriate” and added that a new chief of staff would soon be appointed.
In his statement today Zeidan said the Ministry of Finance had reported to the Council of Ministers that the armed forces had already received some LD2.5 billion so far this year. On Thursday Zeidan had asserted that almost LD7 billion had be given between 2012 and now.
Yet today in a telephone interview with Alaseema TV, Gnaidi contradicted the prime minister.
He said that former Army Chief of Staff Major-General Yousef Mangoush should be asked about the 2012 budget. Equally, the director of the Military Accounts Office could speak about the sums that have been handed over so far this year, because it is that office which actually receives government money for the Libya army.
Gnaidi did not however specify the actual amounts that he contends have been made over to the army. There has been speculation that, as with virtually all government financing, thanks to tangled red tape and excessive bureaucracy, there is often a considerable time lag between the granting of budgets and their final disbursement.
Gnaidi also used his interview to say that it was the General National Congress and not the Council of Ministers that had the responsibility of appointing the new army chief of staff. [/restrict]