The Guardian: Libya’s new government might have been elected through bribery

Debaiba's government is thrown in doubt and suspicions as result of leaked UN reports accusing him of bribing his way into office

Members of the dialogue forum have called on the UN to release bribery report to clear their names and reputations. [Photo: AP]
The British news outlet The Guardian published a report in regards to the rampantly spreading allegation of bribery surrounding Libya’s yet to be confirmed Government of National Unity.

The Newspaper stated Libya’s incoming government has been thrown into “doubt by a UN inquiry” finding that there may have been attempts to tamper with the votes of members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.

It added that Debaiba supporters offered bribed as high as 200,000 to attract voters in Tunis where the UN selected delegates met to elect a new prime minister to lead a new unified authority towards national election later in December of this years.

It also reported that “a row broke out in the lobby of the hotel after delegates discovered that the bribe for their vote was lower than that being offered in secret to others. One delegate heard that as much as $500,000 was on offer.”

The office of the interim prime minister and Libya’s new executive authority has denied all claims and called for the UN to release the report as soon as possible to clear Libya’s new government of any suspicions.

The British news site noted that the report will be brought before the UN Security Council on 15 March after an investigation into the allegations of bribery was demanded by the then acting UN special envoy for Libya, Stephanie Williams.

It added that at the time the investigation was launched last year, rumours of corruption and bribery within the dialogue forum were “rife and have been common knowledge in Libya for two months”, with the LPDF backing Debaiba’s unexpected slate and rejecting what was expected to be the winning ticket of the Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, and the speaker of the Libyan parliament, Aguila Saleh, two prominent figures from the west and east of the country.

Elham Saudi, the director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya and a member of the LPDF who abstained due to her concerns about the integrity of the process has stated “The situation we are in today is the result of the UN prioritising expediency above all else and at the expense of the due process. The root cause of this is there was a rejection of any meaningful criteria to those standing concerning their record – and the allegations against them – concerning human rights and corruption. That approach is now risking undermining the credibility of the whole process.”

Earlier this week, six female members of the LPDF issued a formal statement denying the rumours on social media that they have accepted any bribes and calling on the UN to release the report to clear everyone in the forum and bring anyone that might have taken part in any corrupt activity to justice.

The Guardian concluded by saying that the UN is presented with a dilemma as a result of these rumours. One option would be for the interim government to be scrapped entirely and bring the elections forward instead of waiting until December.

Another option being the UN declaring Debiba’s candidacy invalid and handing the government over to the second-place ticket, meaning Interior Minister Bashagha would act as prime minister.

A third option is to accept that the evidence gathered by the committee of experts is not sufficiently robust and to take Dbeibah’s denials at face value.

International governments have heavily invested in the UN lead process and would be more than reluctant to see its work entirely undone.

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