Forensic audit will improve Lebanon's credibility among donor countries: President

Aoun was briefed on a “framework of reform, recovery and reconstruction,” put together by EU Ambassador to Lebanon Ralph Tarraf, Deputy Special Coordinator of the UN to Lebanon Najat Roshdie and World Bank Regional Director Saroj Kumar Jha

  
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon October 21, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon October 21, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun affirmed his support of a forensic audit Tuesday, saying that it would ensure Lebanon’s credibility in the eyes of the international community and donor countries. Aoun’s comments come on the eve of an aid conference for Lebanon hosted by France and the United Nations.

Aoun Tuesday was briefed on a “framework of reform, recovery and reconstruction,” put together by EU Ambassador to Lebanon Ralph Tarraf, Deputy Special Coordinator of the UN to Lebanon Najat Roshdie and World Bank Regional Director Saroj Kumar Jha.

The framework estimated the cost of Lebanon’s path to reform, recovery and reconstruction at $2.5 billion, a statement from the presidency said.

The statement said that Aoun had expressed his support for the strategic objectives included in the framework, as well as a forensic audit which would lay out “every dollar spent in Lebanon” and gain credibility in the eyes of the international community, “esspeically the donor countries.”

The forensic audit is a precondition for any type of foreign financial assistance, which Lebanon desperately needs, in addition to an International Monetary Fund Bailout.

Alvarez & Marsal, the consulting company that was tasked with conducting the Central Bank’s audit, pulled out of the contract last week citing noncooperation by the bank in providing the necessary documents.

France is set host a video conference with international partners on Wednesday to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon.

The meeting, held with the United Nations, will aim to have the highest-level representation possible with the objective of soliciting aid for Lebanon's debt-crushed economy.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to push ahead with efforts to prevent Lebanon’s further economic deterioration following the devastating Aug. 4 explosion, which destroyed large swathes of the city and killed nearly 200 people.

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