By Sami Zaptia.
London, 23 November 2020:
The Libyan Organization for Independent Media (LOFIM) has called for an investigation into the bribery allegations at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Tunis during its face-to-face session in held Tunis held between 9-15 November.
The call came in an open letter published yesterday addressed to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Acting UNSMIL head, Stephanie Williams, and Acting Libyan Attorney General, Ibrahim Masoud.
The LOFIM also demanded that the investigation results be publicised, the accused be excluded from participation in the LPDF and results of the findings be referred to the Libyan Attorney General’s Office.
The LOFIM’s demands come on the back of UNSMIL Acting head Williams acknowledgment at a press conference of the existence of serious allegations about the existence of corrupt practices and the use of political money in an attempt to influence the nomination process for the position of Libya’s next Prime Minister.
She had revealed during the press conference closing the LPDF Tunis meeting that an investigation is underway into these allegations. She had said that if proven, the guilty could face international sanctions.
It will be recalled that on 18 November 56 out of the 75 members of the LPDF had also issued an open letter addressed to Secretary-General Guterres and Williams demanding the suspension of membership from the LPDF of all those associated with the serious allegations of corrupt practices and the use of political money in connection with the nomination process for Libya’s next executive authority.
The letter also demanded that the procedures for investigating these allegations be of the highest degree of transparency to inform the Libyan people, the rightful sovereign body, of the results of this investigation.
Here is the letter in full:
On allegations of bribery at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum
Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ms. Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Libya
Mr. Ibrahim Masoud, Acting Libyan Attorney General
The undersigned Libyan human rights organizations, while affirming our support for Libyan political dialogue, remain deeply disturbed by reports of financial bribes offered for the purpose of obtaining political gain that purportedly took place during the sessions of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum held in Tunis this month. We call for a full transparent investigation, with a record of the findings made public as well as the immediate exclusion of members of this forum found to be involved in the alleged bribery.
We welcome and support the aim of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum to bring an end to the exacerbating political and humanitarian crisis and establish peace, stability and development in Libya. However, shocking news circulating of the involvement of some participants in the forum to “buy” votes for some candidates aspiring to hold positions in the government and in the Presidency Council, places the integrity of the entire dialogue process into question.
Promise of a full administrative investigation into the matter, was made by the UN Support Mission in Libya’s (UNSMIL) acting representative Stephanie Williams in a press conference at the end of the first round of the political dialogue. The undersigned organizations are closely following the developments of this investigation and expect the immediate exclusion of those dialogue members proven to be involved from the next rounds of the dialogue and barring the implicated candidates from running for any position in the government and the Presidential Council.
In this context, the signatory organizations affirm that the selection process for the delegates of this forum lacked transparency from the onset. Instead, we believe that a vetting process would have upheld the integrity of the forum. The aforementioned allegations undoubtedly threaten the integrity of the Libyan political dialogue. Additionally, the failure to reveal the results of the investigation around these allegations and excluding those involved in the bribery, will undermine the political dialogue process in its entirety. This will put the credibility of this dialogue or any future dialogue in jeopardy with potentially dire consequences on future general elections as well as attaining peace and stability in the country.
The signatory organizations below welcome all members of the dialogue who upheld the integrity of the forum and did not engage in such deals. We call on all international and Libyan parties involved in this dialogue to be made accountable for its success through transparency and trust.
We thus affirm that the United Nations has a moral and ethical obligation to continue the administrative investigation procedures, announce its results, and immediately act accordingly. Moreover, we maintain that such acts of bribery are criminalized in accordance with the relevant criminal legislation at the national level and remains the responsibility of the Attorney General of the office in charge of public prosecution. Recalling that Libya has ratified the Anti-Corruption Convention, we demand the following:
Firstly, Recommendations to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya:
- To continue the administrative investigation announced by the mission and to take all measures to help reveal the truth.
- To declare the results of the investigation, publicly announce the members of the dialogue involved in acts of corruption and exclude them from the remaining dialogue sessions and replace them with others.
- To inform the public opinion of the results of the investigation and provide the Libyan Attorney General with the details of the investigation and its results.
- To prevent anyone who is proven to be involved in incidents of corruption from running for sovereign positions, whether in the Presidential Council or the government.
Secondly, Recommendations to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Libya:
- To take the necessary legal measures and to start an urgent criminal investigation into the incident.
- To refer those involved to the national justice system in accordance with the law.
- To publicly announce the results of the investigation and the procedures that will follow.
- Defender Center for Human Rights
- The National Forum for Dialogue Support
- Independent Organization for Human Rights
- “Bilady” Foundation for Human Rights
- Aman Organization Against Discrimination
- The Transients Foundation for Migrants Aid and Humanitarian Work
- Libyan Women’s Platform For Peace
- Youth for Tawergha
- Libyan Organization for Independent Media
- Salemtom Organization for Comprehensive Development
- Lawyers for Justice in Libya