NNA - Prime Minister, Dr. Hassan Diab, has chaired a meeting of oversight bodies, in the presence of the Minister of Social Affairs and Tourism Ramzi Musharrafieh and the Minister of Environment and Administrative Development DemianosKattar. The meeting included the Head of the Audit Bureau, Judge Muhammad Badran, the Auditing Department General Prosecutor, Attorney Fawzi Khamis, and Judges Abdel Reda Nasser, EnaamBoustani and Jamal Mahmoud (from the Audit Bureau), the Head of the Civil Service Council Nisreen Machmouchi(from the Civil Service Council), the Head of the Central Inspection Body, Judge George Attieh, the Financial Inspector General Wael Khaddaj, the General Educational Inspector, Faten Jomaa (from the Central Inspection Body), the President of the Supreme Disciplinary Committee, Judge Rita Ghantous, Director General Mervat Itani and Director General Ali Merhi (from the Supreme Disciplinary Committee).
At the beginning of the meeting, Prime Minister Diab said: “I wanted to meet with you today to emphasize basic postulates.
The first postulate is that the State’s concept remains incomplete without oversight of its actions.
Constitutionally, the Executive power is subject to people’s oversight through the Parliament; people holds the Cabinet accountable, grants it confidence or withholds it.
The Administration has more than one regulatory body, as per the relevant mandate. You are the authority tasked with monitoring state administration, whether at the level of general performance, or at the level of employee performance.
In this sense, the level of performance of the Lebanese state administration becomes essentially linked to your role, its scope, effectiveness, and impact, and is not affected by interventions that could hinder your role as oversight bodies.
I know you are grappling with many files and that there have been files stuck for many years. This is an abuse of your role and your independent personality as institutions set up to monitor and hold employees accountable.
Bribery, corruption, lack of productivity and chaos are all issues of concern to you.
What is happening is that security services are chasing files in the administration. Can the media move a corruption file inthe administration, even though the file is supposed to move normally through the oversight bodies before the media?
Why is this overlap happening? Is it because of the failure of the oversight bodies? Or is it because of the ineffectiveness of such bodies? Or is there political interference that hinders its role?
This issue is essential today for the government.
The state administration may not remain in this state.
There is a lot of talk about deals, brokerages, wastage, contempt and misuse of state administration.
Who is supposed to address these accusations? Who is supposed to follow up, confirm, adjudicate, or even deny such accusations?
Corruption has caused the country to collapse. Moral collapse, impropriety and lack of accountability, all of which allowed financial corruption to become deeply-rooted and become an integral part of the Lebanese state formation.
The corruption system has become stronger than the state itself.
Mafia that stole the country, crept into the administration and gained control over it, bribery, deals and brokerages, and perhaps these mafias have taken direct control over some departments.
Today, we are facing a reality of rampant corruption in the country. In the Lebanese administration, in municipalities, in public institutions and common interests, in state facilities, in various sectors...
This is a very painful reality.
As a result, we have got here, and the country has fallen, as a result of the state of corruption within the state.
Today, the whole world requires Lebanon to fight corruption in order to help us. In the current situation, we are accused of not actually achieving anything. But this issue has been put on the table; it has become the government’s priority.
So, today I announce the start of the war on corruption. This is a long battle, and it will be difficult; we will be subject toaccusations, treachery, insults and political campaigns.
That is fine… We got used to it from the first day I was assigned to form the government.
The corrupt will try to protect themselves under a political, sectarian, confessional, regional and family attire.
All this will not stop us from pursuing this battle. We will fight till the end.
Lebanese people are with us in this battle. We draw our strength from rights, defend the state and its interests, protect people, build their future and restore the Lebanese people’s confidence in their state.
Every person who loves his country has a role to play in this battle, and we must fight it together with determination, resolve and courage. There is no room for hesitation or fear.
We highly rely on your role as watchdogs. You have many files to address; today you are required to put them on the table, switch off your phones and only listen tothe voice of your conscience and the voice of people who can no longer tolerate the state of corruption that has become the norm in the country, not the exception.
We need to streamline the administration, clean it, and provide citizens with the best possible conditions.
The Administration’s purpose is to serve citizens, not the other way around.
Employee salaries are paid through fees and taxes collected from citizens.
Boldly and with pride, I can say:
The government works for the Lebanese, not the other way around.
This criterion should be clear to everyone. Against this backdrop, administration officials in every state department must serve citizens with a broad smile, enthusiasm, responsibility, and without favour.
I assure you that nothing will stop us from fighting this battle. We will follow up dailyon this dossier, and will ask about all files.
Today you are required to move your files as quickly as possible.
I am sure that you will have a lot of work, you will get tired a lot, and you will come under great pressure, but this is a national responsibility we all bear, and you must be a spearhead in this fight.”
Diab’s remarks were followed by adiscussion featuring the administration's streamlining and ways of cooperation between various ministries and oversight bodies to reduce corruption and decide on outstanding issues. Oversight bodies have also presented the obstacles facing them and ways to overcome such obstacles in order to activate the role of the oversight bodies, which are considered one of the pillars of fighting corruption in Lebanon.--PM Press Office