By Sami Zaptia.
London, 5 January 2022:
The Attorney General’s Office announced yesterday that it had detained Ali Zeidan’s former Deputy Prime Minister Sideeg Abdulkarim for:
1-Arranging commitments on the state worth 1.2 billion dinars in violation and wasted 230 million dinars.
2-Acquired public funds for one of his friends through violation of the law and abuse of power.
3- Contracting to supply needs that lack quality at high prices and spending the contract value on supplying them.
4-Circumventing control procedures and part of direct assignment procedures issued to 11 companies to 121 assignments to the same companies.
The Attorney General’s Office said that Abdulkarim confessed to the rest of the evidence against him and was as a result put in detention.
The announcement by the Attorney General’s Office of the arrest of a former Deputy Prime Minister continues its latest trend of announcing the arrest of leading figures, including the recent arrest of the serving Minister of Culture Mabrouka Tawfi Otman Oki last month.
The Attorney General had announced that she had also been arrested on the accusation of corruption.
The announcements of arrests on corruption charges bode well for the new post-Qaddafi era Libya. By all accounts, corruption is rampant in Libya. Many Libyans seeking the posts of high office do so motivated by the desire to skim off some of the highly centralized state’s rentier wealth.
In view of the weak state institutions, including the judiciary and security apparatus, for many, high office since 2011 equates to making a quick buck. It was taken for granted that those in power could act with impunity, relying on the split political system and militias to escape any follow up.
However, since Libya’s politicians achieved relatively more consensus and agreed to appoint Sideeg Soor as the Attorney General in April 2021, the judicial system has woken up from its enforced dormancy.
At the time, Libya Herald commented on Sour’s appointment thus:
‘‘Ultimately, it is hoped that the appointment will hasten the wheels of Libyan justice with hundreds if not thousands of cases pending. There is a huge need for the perception that justice is being served out at a time of much suspected illegality, illegitimacy and corruption.’’
There will always be criticism of Al-Sour from one party or the other as to why this person, from this city or region or political stream was arrested and not another. However, the wheels of Libyan justice that had been frozen for years since the 2011 revolution at least appear to be moving. There is now the perception at least that the justice system is starting to at least go after some high profile political figures. Time will tell how far and deep this can continue, but its a start.