IMF denies blasting Lebanese government over blatant corruption

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During a five-minute recording, an individual identified by the IMF as Mohamad Zeidan signals that “Lebanon’s level of corruption can only be compared to that of Botswana,” a landlocked country located in Southern Africa.

by Georgi Azar

BEIRUT: In the wake of a viral video which claimed to show an alleged International Monetary Fund expert’s lack of trust in Lebanon’s government and ability to properly manage the upcoming ‘Cedre’ donor conference in Paris, the IMF released Tuesday a statement categorically denying any “association with Mohamad Zeidan.”

The video, which began to circulate on Saturday, March 31, was solely accompanied by a five-minute voice recording and a blank screen with the words “an expert of the International Monetary Fund exposes the level of corruption and lack of performance of the existing Lebanese government and political establishment,” written on it.

During the five-minute recording, an individual identified by the IMF as Mohamad Zeidan signals that “Lebanon’s level of corruption can only be compared to that of Botswana,”  a landlocked country located in Southern Africa.

He then claims that “the IMF has continuously put forth recommendations for the Lebanese government to decrease their debt,” before blatantly telling those gathered that Lebanon has “a cancer which is a lack of governance.”

The video sparked panic among concerned Lebanese who are wary of the country’s economic struggles amid uncertain times.

The country’s debt has risen to an all-time high after its deficit jumped to LBP 8 trillion, with experts warning of an impending Greece-like crisis.

Last week, Parliament ratified the 2018 state budget despite the fact that the previous years’ accounts have yet to be audited as top officials geared up to travel to Paris on April 6.

While in Paris, Lebanese officials will seek to raise over 16 billion dollars for a 12-year investment program as Lebanon’s economy continues to reel under the burden of the refugee crisis.

Lebanon’s economic struggles have entered the spotlight in recent weeks after it became the world’s third most-indebted country as the government’s revenue fails to keep pace with spending.

Addressing the country’s unbridled plight with corruption, which has bled the state’s coffers, Hariri vowed to “hold those accountable, yet no one has put forth a name.”

Lebanon continued to slip down Transparency International’s corruption ranking this year, coming in at 143rd of 180 countries, reflecting the increasingly dire state of the economy and declining governance.

 

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