Since the announcement of the new government headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati last Friday, news about suspicions of corruption and sexual harassment scandals involving the newly appointed ministers began spreading.
Multiples accounts on social media as well as television stations published testimonies by former colleagues of the new Minister of energy and water, Walid Fayad, talking about his history of sexual harassment as well as 7 complains and lawsuits filed against him in the United States of America; in addition to several other allegations of corruption and embezzlement. The minister, till this time, has not yet responded to or explained the circulating allegations.
On Friday, the receptions held for the ministers in their hometowns was overcome with heavy celebratory gunfire. Several video clips emerged showing armed individuals wielding heavy weapons shooting excessively into the air during the reception of the new public works minister Ali Hamiyeh in his hometown of Taraya.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati quickly proceeded to hold successive meetings with the ministers to discuss their vision and plan of action for their ministries as well as related key issues. He also began preparing for the ministerial statement upon which confidence of the parliament will be given.
He also had a meeting that included new and former ministers over the financing card. He was keen to review all the details of the stages and progress that this issue has already been through. As a result, there was an agreement that the new ministers would take over the research and preparation in the upcoming new days and finalize their report on this matter.
It is worth noting that the new cabinet, which will take their commemorative photo in Baabda palace with President Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri, will hold their first session immediately afterwards on Monday to form the ministerial statement committee.
Aoun and Bassil’s Blocking Third
The cabinet composition and the loyalty of the ministers remains an ongoing matter of discussion between the Lebanese. According to information received by “Janoubia”, Gebran Bassil is the one behind the nominations of the 11th and 12th independent Christian ministers, Najla Riachi Assaker and George Kallas. This means that Aoun and Bassil have succeeded in locking up 10 representatives, irrespective of the fact that Mikati approved some of them or at the very least did not refuse them.
The Gasoline Crisis Re-emerges
On the living conditions’ front; the gasoline and diesel crisis remains at the fore as talks or completely lifting subsidies for both material on Monday. George Bracks, who is a member of the Gas Station Owners Syndicate, warned that “the gasoline crisis is going to get further aggravated as the current stocks are being sold, and the stocks are being delivered by the fuel companies, but the ships at see are not unloading any new supply because the Central Bank is not providing the needed funds.” In an interview, he added that “the storage will run out soon, and we will witness in the coming days many closures in gas stations. Only a few of them will remain open which will cause more severe waiting lines in front of them.” He indicated that: “Yesterday, there was only 55 million liters of gasoline left in the reserves which cannot last the entire week… If the fuel ships do not unload the fuel at the ports, the country will run out of fuel and enter a state of paralysis.”