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UN report confirms attempted bribes at Libya talks

At least three people were offered bribes if they voted for Abdul Hamid Dbeibah [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 March, 2021

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A UN report found at least three participants in the Libya peace talks were offered bribes over votes for a prime ministerial candidate.

At least three participants in UN-led Libya peace talks held in Tunisia in November were offered bribes to vote for a prime ministerial candidate, a UN report published Tuesday found.

The report was compiled by UN experts responsible for verifying the application of international sanctions on Libya, including the arms embargo they described as "totally ineffective."

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

During the forum's initial round, "the panel established that at least three participants were offered bribes to vote for a specific candidate as prime minister," the report states.

"The forum participants involved in the incident were categorical in their rejection of the bribes."

A French version of the report said at least three Libyan politicians or businessmen running for the post had made the offers.

The names of those involved were not disclosed, though were included in a confidential annex to the report.

An excerpt of that annex seen by AFP on February 28 states that two forum members "offered bribes of between $150,000 to $200,000 to at least three LPDF participants if they committed to vote for Dbeibah as PM."

One delegate "erupted in anger in (the) 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," the extract says.

In early February, the 75 participants 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.

On March 2, the presidential council and Dbeibah in a statement called on UN experts to publish their report into the bribe attempts. 

Libya's parliament last week approved a unity government headed by Dbeibah, who was sworn in Monday.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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