Lebanon News

Anti-corruption draft law passes committee

The Finance and Budget Committee meets, chaired by Metn MP Ibrahim Kanaan.

BEIRUT: Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee Wednesday endorsed a draft law creating a national commission to investigate allegations of public sector corruption and oversee the implementation of corruption-related laws.

The National Commission for Combating Corruption would comprise 10 members, set to be selected by the lawyers’ syndicates, the auditors’ syndicate and former members of the judiciary, as well as other bodies not affiliated with Cabinet or Parliament.

“We made an effort to have the nomination of its members carried out by independent authorities ... under a series of conditions, so that membership selection is as remote as possible from political influence,” former MP Ghassan Moukheiber, who worked extensively on the draft in the last Parliament, told The Daily Star Tuesday.

The draft now goes before the full Parliament.

“With the approval of this law, the legislative system to combat public sector corruption will be completed so that [corruption-related] laws become effective,” a statement from committee head MP Ibrahim Kanaan’s office said after the meeting. But the executive authority must commit to the implementation.

The commission will work toward implementing corruption-related legislation that Parliament has already endorsed, including the 2017 Right to Access to Information Law and recently endorsed legislation aimed at protecting whistleblowers. The commission will also oversee the implementation of laws yet to be discussed and approved, such as one that would enable it to access the bank accounts of high-ranking public officials, including ministers, caretaker Minister of State for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueni told The Daily Star Tuesday.

It will also have the power to investigate MPs, officers and administrators, the statement said.

The commission would then refer the results of its investigations to the competent authorities, including judicial, administrative and disciplinary authorities.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 20, 2018, on page 3.

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