Public funds and assets looted from Central Bank of Libya in Benghazi; suspicions looming around sons of Haftar

December 17, 2017

Conflicting reports have emerged about the fate of large sums of money that have been withdrawn from the vaults of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) branch in Benghazi over the past few days.

Fingers were pointed out to armed groups led by the sons of warlord Khalifa Haftar, who according to local reports had seized the money and transferred it to an unknown place.
Pro-Haftar activists confirmed the news, but they said that the process was followed-up by the committee formed by the CBL branch in the eastern region.

Allam Al-Falah, a journalist loyal to Khalifa Haftar, stated on his Facebook page on Friday that the transfer process was carried out by who he called 'armed forces' for security reasons, giving no details about the destination.

He stressed that the Central Bank in Al-Bayda will provide detailed explanations about the fate of those funds.

Al-Fallah said that the process of withdrawal of funds was for 'precautionary measures' to preserve those funds, describing the news circulated about the fate and place to which it were moved to as 'rumours' and that the media war against the leadership of the army will not end.

In the meantime, the former political adviser of Khalifa Haftar, Mohammed Buysir, demanded the truth behind what he called “looting Libyan funds from the vaults of the Central Bank in Benghazi”.

'Many are beginning to believe these strong rumours that accuse forces belonging to Haftar of stealing millions of euros, dollars and dinars, and transferring them to Rajma camp'. He said, adding 'I do not want to believe that, this money is the Libyans’ money'.

Buysir called on the Governor of the parallel Central Bank of Libya, Ali Al-Habri, to speak out in public to clarify whether this story was pure fabrication or true, pointing out that his silence indicates a sense of fear.

“In this case, he (Al-Habri) will be held responsible for covering up thefts of public money using armed force”. Buysir remarked.

On the other hand, activists in social media and Libyan news websites circulated a letter that was attributed to the Minister of Finance in the Government of the Presidential Council, Osama Hammad, which was addressed to the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya in the east, urging him to open an urgent investigation into the case of 'theft of funds and amounts of gold' from the branch of the Central Bank of Libya in Benghazi.

Hammad, according to the alleged letter, demanded Ali Al-Habri to shoulder his responsibilities towards the Libyan people and take the necessary measures against what he described as “theft of amounts of local and foreign currency and gold and secretariats from the Central Bank Benghazi”, which was transferred from the vaults of the bank to an unknown place, according to the text of the letter, which Libya Observer was unable to verify.

The news of breaking into the vaults of the branch of the Central Bank of Libya in Benghazi has flooded the social networking sites during the past two days.

Many activists have accused armed groups led by the sons of Khalifa Haftar of seizing the money and transferring it to their father’s headquarters in Rajma camp, east of Benghazi.

According to reports, the funds and assets include hundreds of millions of local and foreign currency in addition to gold bars.

libyaobserver