By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 July 2018:
The Tripoli and Beyda-based branches of Libya’s politically split Audit Bureau announced that they had held their first joint meeting in the eastern city of Beida yesterday.
The once unified Audit Bureau headquartered in Tripoli had split after the 2014 Tripoli militia coup, reflecting the political split of the country. The Beida Audit Bureau had pledged its loyalty and was accountable to the House of Representatives based in Tobruk. The original Audit Bureau remained in Tripoli recognizing whichever government controlled Tripoli since 2014.
The Audit Bureau is a state oversight and monitoring entity of state finances, not an executive entity. It is accountable to the legislature and not the executive as it is supposed to monitor the executive’s disbursement of state money.
Two committees from the respective branches met in Beida with the aim of ‘‘realizing effective financial oversight aimed at securing public finances and in order to unify the efforts of the Audit Bureau’’.
The press release said that the following six points were agreed of the first joint meeting:
- The assurance that the Audit Bureau is a single entity.
- The unification of the next (2018) Annual Report. Since the division of the body, each branch has released its own annual report. The annual reports are a very important oversight and anti-corruption record of how state finances were spent the previous year.
- The creation of a unified operational plan for 2019.
- The establishment of direct communications between the two branches and their various departments for the achievement of better and faster oversight.
- The creation of joint domestic and overseas inspection and audit committee (to oversee Libyan embassies and investment entities abroad etc).
- The suggestion of unifying the organizational chart of the two Audit Bureau branches.
It will be indicative to see if the two technical branches are indeed allowed by their divided political master to achieve unification, and if so, who would the reunified entity be accountable to as the internationally-recognized parliament, the House of Representatives in Tobruk, has no traction in Tripoli.
It will also be recalled that the current internationally-agreed political road map for Libya, the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), calls for the reunification of all Libya’s sovereign state institutions.
The announcement of the meeting of the two split Audit Bureau branches comes at a time when the whole LPA seems to be under threat as two eastern members of the Presidency Council/Government of National Accord announced their withdrawal from the PC/GNA and the LPA.
At the end of the Beida meeting, it was agreed to hold the next meeting in the capital Tripoli.