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Bribes for votes at UN-led Libya talks: expert panel

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum talks were launched in Tunisia in November [GETTY]

Date of publication: 28 February, 2021

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UN experts found that during the Tunisia talks, two participants offered bribes of between $150,000 to $200,000 to at least three LPDF participants if they voted for Dbeibah as PM.
At least three participants in UN-led Libya peace talks were bribed for votes, experts from the world body found in a report for the Security Council seen by AFP Sunday.

Interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was selected early this month during Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) talks launched in Tunisia in November, the United Nations' latest bid to salvage the country from a decade of conflict and fragmentation.

In a report set to be presented to the Security Council in March, UN experts found that during the Tunisia talks, two participants "offered bribes of between $150,000 to $200,000 to at least three LPDF participants if they committed to vote for Dbeibah as PM".

The report, which is yet to be made public, was prepared by UN experts tasked with examining breaches of an international arms embargo to the North African nation.

In a passage of their report seen by AFP, the experts reported that one delegate "erupted in anger in lobby of the Four Seasons hotel in Tunis on hearing that some participants may have received up to [...] $500,000 for their Dbeibah votes, whereas he had only received $200,000".

One participant in the talks, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed to AFP that he had witnessed the scene, voicing anger at "unacceptable corruption at a time when Libya is going through a major crisis".

The Tunisia talks aimed at creating a transitional administration to lead the country towards elections set for December.

In February, the 75 participants hand-picked by the UN to represent a wide spectrum of Libyan constituencies themselves selected an interim administration led by billionaire Dbeibah and a three-member presidential council.

Dbeibah must now win a vote of confidence in his government from the Libyan parliament by March 19.

He said Thursday he had submitted a "vision" for a cabinet line-up but that the names of proposed ministers would be disclosed in parliament during the confidence vote.

The latest claims came after several Libyan organisations in November demanded an investigation into allegations of corruption over the selection of future officials.

The UN's interim Libya envoy at the time, Stephanie Williams told delegates and journalists that she had launched an investigation into allegations of bribery.

In a letter seen by AFP and dated February 20, LPDF participants Sayida Kamel Yaacoubi and Azza Mahmoud Assid called on Williams' permanent successor Jan Kubis to make public the expert report, saying the allegations were an affront to their "dignity, honour and transparency".

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