Major General Abbas Ibrahim: “Passports” to Eid

Malak Aqeel wrote on the “Asas” website:

The Lebanese are literally “under arrest”.

The prison guards make their government “aware” of everything but their interests. And his latest achievement is the “suppression” of illegal immigration … and also legality.

It procrastinated and “wasted” in accepting its responsibilities to make up for the depletion of the passport security at the General Security until the Lebanese became “prisoners” of its blatant and catastrophic failure.

It is a closed “hell” episode that lasted for months between the government, the governor of the Banque du Liban and the Minister of Finance, during which the “passport” was turned into a rare currency, sharpened by the right holders who surrendered has on ropes of shame the like of which has not been seen in the history of Lebanon.

About three weeks ago, the mechanism for transferring money to pay the value of the contract for the French company responsible for printing passports was stuck with the Ministry of Finance. A number of Public Security Officers work daily to ensure the requirements for the “liberation” of the transfer process, which has been virtually frozen since July 2021.

The Director-General of Public Safety acknowledges that brokers who collaborated with Askar benefited financially from General Security by changing the dates on the platform and submitting false travel bookings

In this context, the Director-General of Public Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, told ASAS: “I contacted the Minister of Finance, Youssef Khalil, last Friday and he assured me that things were” closed “and almost done. , and promised to transfer the money to Eid Al-Fitr Knowing that the Ministry of Finance had requested We changed some terms with the company after the value of the contract increased from 22 billion pounds to 300 billion pounds due to the difference in the exchange rate of the dollar. We immediately did what we had to do, but things took a long and unjustified time.

Ibrahim confirms that “once the funds have been transferred, the platform will be reopened and the receipt of requests resumed,” noting that there are “199,073 booking requests on the platform until April 2023, and all passport requests will be complied with.” note that “what prompted us to close the platform is the lack of We had shares after this date, so we did not want to sell people illusions.”

According to the contract signed with the French company, valued at $ 15 million, Public Security, according to Ibrahim, will reach one million and 100 thousand passports, and passports will continue to be issued at a rate of one thousand passports per day, while the “order” is sufficient for one year, which reveals that “we will prepare after the completion of the delivery process, a new book of conditions and a new tender.

Who is really responsible for the crisis?

Ibrahim replies: “Throughout the stages of the crisis, General Security took matters into its own hands to protect the government, but the situation was no longer bearable and” I am disgusted, “while the government was supposed to assume its responsibilities to “corrected what we had achieved, but it did not do so despite all our warnings. After pressure Unexpectedly, we had to take unusual measures to obtain the passport, according to the rule of priorities and the most urgent.”

He added, “We have achieved what we have also achieved due to the existence of multiple exchange rates for the dollar, and due to mismanagement in all institutions,” and argued that “the masquerade of multiple dollar rates should be ended immediately. . “

The fate of emergencies

There is therefore no limit to the “creations” of this authority. Placing more than four million Lebanese residents and millions of expatriates under house arrest, whether in their homeland or in the land of expulsion, where they may be deported for failing to obtain a passport is an “achievement” that few governments can achieve.

But from now until the fulfillment of the “promise” of the Minister of Finance and the arrival of the shipment of passports, resulting from unregistered requests on the platform, which are many for residents and expatriates, and under the “emergency” and urgent fall. category?

In this case, according to Ibrahim, a handwritten letter is sent to General Security that includes an explanation, and “these requests are forwarded directly to the Chief Executive Officer’s office for a decision, which requires an investigation to verify it, after it was found that many of them obtained their passports through fraud without using them. ”

Lawyers believe that the Council of Ministers has exceeded its powers to increase fees for issuing passports without waiting for the approval of this increase in the draft budget 2022

69% of passports were not used

Ibrahim explains that “the imposition of unusual procedures by the General Security for the possession of passports is due to the fact that there are about 20,000 passports that were not received by their owners, and 69% of the passports issued, was not used. Therefore, we turned to the priority option so that we could issue a thousand passports a day, and let’s make use of the stock for as long as possible. need. Later, we stopped the platform “so we do not return to the air” after the stock reached the red line. “

Military to “disciplinary”

The Director-General of General Security acknowledges that brokers, who teamed up with Askar, benefited financially from General Security by changing the dates on the platform and making false travel bookings.

Therefore, Major General Ibrahim “issued a decision to refer all requests to change the appointments on the platform to the Director – General’s office for personal viewing and verification,” emphasizing that “the identities of the accomplices are, and are currently in jail and will be referred to the Disciplinary Board. ”

stages of the crisis

Major General Ibrahim explains to “Asas” the stages of the passport crisis and says:

“The contract with the French company was completed in July 2021, and an amount of 22 billion pounds, equivalent to about 15 million dollars, was seized at the price of 1,500, with the transfer to be done immediately. At the same time, we all, without exception, warned that our ability to resist and secure passports was limited. There was an attack Exceptional and unexpected requests for passports, and our ability to issue passports daily no more than “Three thousand not, while the submission of applications amounted to 8000. day, and people who are humiliated and sleep in front of public security centers, while obtaining a passport is an obvious right for the Lebanese.”

Passport Dollar

Ibrahim adds: “After the company did what was required of him, it wrote to the government and those involved, and after pressure, the government transferred the money, but the governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh , refused the transfer. at the official rate of 1 500, requesting the transfer at the exchange rate.I contacted the Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee, Representative Ibrahim Kanaan, and received a response by approving an extraordinary credit on 7 April, to value of £ 300 billion, which is the difference between the platform price and the official price. And VAT, and some technical issues. The Directorate of Public Safety has completed all the required new procedures. It’s now about three weeks ago, and the “story is stuck” at the Ministry of Finance, but after the last communication with Minister Youssef Khalil, he assured me that the transfer to the holiday will take place.

Ibrahim is surprised that the issue of generating immediate resources to the treasury has not been resolved, “since the passport costs about $ 12 (which means more than 200 thousand pounds). The citizen pays his value today, one million and 200 thousand pounds “After the Council of Ministers changed the price. This difference is estimated at 1.5 trillion and 500 billion pounds. It goes straight to funding.”

Fee increase

On the other hand, jurists believe that the Council of Ministers has exceeded its powers to increase fees for issuing passports without waiting for the approval of this increase in the 2022 draft budget.

The government’s bypassing of parliament this time did not lead to its mobilization and a “power struggle”, knowing that fees are specified and approved in the 2019 budget, and may not be amended by a government order, but rather by a law passed by the the parliament.

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