Aoun Warns against 'Fall of Forensic Audit', Calls It 'Battle against Thieves'
President Michel Aoun on Wednesday urged the Lebanese to support him in the forensic audit “battle,” warning that its fall would undermine the French initiative.
“A meeting was held yesterday between representatives of the Finance Ministry, the central bank governorship and the Alvarez & Marsal firm without reaching a tangible result and it was decided to hold another meeting on Friday,” Aoun said in an address to the nation.
“I see in that certain procrastination that indicates the lack of a will to conduct the forensic audit,” the president warned.
He added that “real negotiations should take place directly and face to face between the actual officials and not between their representatives as happened yesterday.”
He added that there has been “obstruction” ever since Alvarez & Marsal was tasked by the government to carry out a forensic audit of the central bank’s accounts, noting that the finance minister “admitted days ago that the central bank had been refraining from answering a large number of the questions of the Alvarez & Marsal firm.”
“It has become clear that the procrastination’s goal is to push the firm to despair and leave Lebanon and therefore halt the forensic audit and allow the criminals to evade punishment,” Aoun lamented.
He warned that “the fall of the forensic audit would undermine the French initiative, because without it there can be no international aid nor the CEDRE conference nor Arab and Gulf support nor IMF assistance.”
“The forensic audit is the gateway for knowing who caused the crime of the financial collapse. The forensic audit is not a personal demand for the president but rather at the heart of the French initiative, the demands of the IMF and, before anything else, it is the demand of all Lebanese,” Aoun went on to say.
Addressing the Lebanese people, he added: “I’m leading you in the battle to expose the biggest theft operation in Lebanon’s history so be with me. Put aside your political differences and rest assured that we will not let them rob the people, aggrieve a mother or humiliate a father or a patient.”
Calling on nations that want to help the Lebanese people to “unveil the money transfers that took place after October 17, 2019 and resembled financial smuggling,” Aoun acknowledged that “the forensic audit” would be only the “start.”
“Perhaps it is a battle that is harder than the battle of the liberation of the land, because it is against corrupts and thieves, who are more dangerous than occupiers and collaborators, seeing as those who steal the money of the people are capable of robbing a nation,” Aoun added.