By Libya Herald reporter.
Malta, 21 January 2015:
The continuing GNC has decided to freeze the transfer of student scholarship funds to embassies that . . .[restrict]it says were ”suspended” by the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau and, it claims, by the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB).
The Libyan embassies that the GNC considers suspended are those in Tunisia, Egypt, Serbia, Germany, France, Spain and Greece.
The GNC decided to form a committee that would send funds directly to the students’ bank accounts in the countries with suspended embassies, its statement said.
It will be recalled that the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau had frozen the transfer of any state money to, and suspended five Libyan ambassadors in France, Germany, Spain, Greece and Turkey for their lack of cooperation in allowing the Audit Bureau to inspect their finances.
The Audit Bureau subsequently referred the ambassadors to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
On Monday, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) had approved the release of just over LD 9 million of overseas scholarship funds to eighteen different countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.
It is worth keeping in mind that there have been delays in the transfer of scholarship funds for Libyan students studying abroad as a result of the economic crises that Libya finds itself in, caused by internal conflict, low oil production/export and the collapse of international crude oil prices by about 60 percent.
There has also been an upsurge in the number of students being awarded overseas study scholarships during the period of weak government since the 2011 revolution.
The CBL, in its recent austerity recommendations, has recommended that the number of overseas state-financed scholarships awarded is reviewed in line with Libya’s current realistic state revenues.
It is also worth keeping in mind that there now exists two Audit Bureau heads, one recognized by the GNC/Libya Dawn faction controlling western Libya, and one recognized by the House of Representatives/Karama faction controlling eastern Libya.
The Abdullah Thinni Foreign Ministry has stressed that suspension by the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau of Libyan ambassadors in several countries is null and void. It points out that he HoR had appointed a new head for the Audit Bureau, which makes the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau head issuing such orders accountable for impersonating the position of the Audit Bureau head.
The Thinni government also explained that Tripoli-based Audit Bureau cannot dispatch inspection teams to embassies abroad without coordinating with the Foreign Ministry – the Foreign Ministry of the only internationally recognized government in Libya.
The Thinni government also praised the position of the so called ‘’suspended’’ ambassadors for not responding to the demands by the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau, and held the Tripoli-based Audit Bureau responsible for the lives and safety of the wounded, patients, as well as the future of the students, receiving medical treatment or education in those countries. [/restrict]