President Michel Aoun has set next Monday as the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a new Prime Minister designate to form the government.
In the last two days, Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s shares to be designated have rose, and several questions have arisen in this regard, mainly what can Mikati offer to Lebanon amid these stifling circumstances, while he failed or did not take any attempt to save his city, Tripoli, from the extreme poverty that infiltrated the majority of its residents?
Mikati is considered the luckiest and he is most likely to be designated, as if he had never been a partner in the country’s collapse through the governments he presided over, and as if he didn’t extend twice for the Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh in the two governments he headed previously.
Wasn’t Najib Mikati accused by the Public Prosecutor of Mount Lebanon Ghada Aoun, and also his son Maher, his brother Taha, and “Bank Audi” for the crime of “unlawful enrichment” because they obtained subsidized housing loans. Aoun has referred them all to the investigating judge in Beirut for investigation?
How does the President of the Republic accept to designate someone, who was accused before by his affiliate Ghada Aoun for illicit enrichment, to head the next government?!
The Lebanese have not yet forgotten how Mikati justified this matter claiming that it is a “normal bank loan borrowed from commercial banks, and they have nothing to do with public money.”
What about the usage of international telephone lines while establishing Mikati’s company for cellular trade in Lebanon during the years 1988-1989-1990? This is what the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Elie Ferzli, highlighted in 2011 after his meeting with General Michel Aoun, where he said, “We hope that President Mikati will form the government in order to serve reform and fight corruption. We also hope Mikati expresses his opinion in front of public and tell us about the usage of international phone lines while he was establishing his Cellular trade company in Lebanon.” Ferzli added at that time: “I ask him, as a Lebanese citizen, to show us an official statement signed by him, and tell us how the Tele Orian lines were used in Lebanon and how they used foreign lines and who benefited from it, so that I can start, through President Mikati, to hold the corrupt accountable.”
It is worth noting that in 2018 Mikati’s name was linked to the case of Royal Jordanian Airlines, which was referred to the Jordanian Anti-Corruption Commission. The case was suspected of corruption in the selling process when Mikati sold his shares in the airline to the former Jordanian government.
The details of the case date back to 2008 when the Jordanian government put up part of its stake in the Royal Jordanian Airlines Company, for sale to a foreign investor. Mikati made an offer to buy the government’s share in the company, and won the deal in which he stipulated obtaining the right of veto, that means his right to object any decision that the company might take. The company has begun to suffer major losses over the years, which prompted the government in 2014, to increase the company’s capital.
At that time Mikati refused to cooperate in restructuring the company and increasing its capital, forcing the government to submit to his dictates and buy his entire share at the price he sets, regardless of its price in the stock exchange. Mikati sold his shares at a value of $2.59, while its actual value on the Amman Stock Exchange was 0.56 cents!
Mikati and his brother, who were included in Forbes list for the rich for the year 2019 with a fortune estimated at $5 billion, have never thought of saving their city Tripoli from the poverty it is engulfed in, and they never invested $1 in productive projects that create job opportunities for people. But on the contrary, they made Syria a foothold for their investments.
How Mikati will be able to extricate Lebanon from the deterioration and the unprecedented collapse?