The Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has frozen 600 bank accounts accused of money laundering offences and referred them to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO).
The 600 frozen accounts represented 150 company bank accounts and 450 individual accounts.
The CBL said in its statement released today that within its role of fighting money laundering, it froze the concerned bank accounts, and thereafter it has referred the cases to the competent seizure authorities such as the Audit Bureau, the PPO and the Administrative Control Authority which are authorized by law with the power of investigation, seizure and arrest.
It will be recalled that in February this year the Attorney General/Public Prosecutors Office had issued a number of arrest warrants for financial corruption including for abandoned containers in Tripoli port that first came to light in August 2015.
In November 2015 it was reported that 110 containers of rice unfit for human consumption were unloaded at Tripoli port. Social media had shown photos of insect infected rice.
The insect-infected 110 containers were reported to be part of a larger deal totaling 400 containers for 10,000 metric tons of rice at an estimated value of LD 10.3 million.
There has been much public pressure on the CBL and Audit Bureau to fight perceived corruption in light of Libya’s deteriorating economic and financial situation caused by reduced oil production/exports, low international crude oil prices and the political and military divisions in the country.
This has resulted in cash shortages at banks, inflation and rising consumer prices, a fall in the exchange rate of the dinar, diminished state spending and the late payment of state-sector salaries.