Modernization of laws to fight corruption, money laundering needed: Lebanese minister
Parliament is currently studying a law for the creation of a national committee for fighting corruption, as well as a law for the protection of those who report corrupt activities. (Shutterstock)
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Lebanon is in dire need to modernize its tax and financial laws in accordance with international standards in a bid to serve the local economy, Telecoms Minister Jamal Jarrah said.
“We succeeded in the past in issuing laws for fighting money laundering and terrorism financing in order to create a clear framework for the work of the Special Investigation Commission but this is still not enough,” he said at a conference organized by the Syndicate of Certified Public Accountants at the Phoenicia Hotel Monday.
The Lebanese Parliament passed four crucial bills by the end of 2015 pertaining to money laundering, terrorism financing and the declaration of cash transferred through crossing points. The SIC, in cooperation with the central bank and the association of banks in Lebanon, lobbied hard to pass these bills in a bid to avoid any action against Lebanon by the international community.
Jarrah, who was representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said Lebanon still needs to improve its legislative system and laws in order to clear all suspicions against the country in this area.
Meanwhile, SIC’s Secretary-General Abdel-Hafiz Mansour said Parliament is currently studying several laws including a law for fighting corruption and the creation of a national committee for fighting corruption, a law for the protection of those who report corrupt activities and a law for public entities’ transactions.
Mansour said he believed Parliament had reached an advanced stage in studying these laws.
Mansour emphasized the need to pass the abovementioned laws in a bid to work seriously on fighting corruption, which impacts societies in small and large countries.
For his part, Salim Abdel-Baqi, president of the Syndicate of Certified Public Accountants, said a lot of work still needs to be done in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing because these practices threaten the global economy, especially as techniques used in these areas are evolving with time.
Mohamed Choucair, head of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, called on the government to take a serious political decision to fight corruption. “The government must start with administrative reforms while improving the work of public departments,” he said adding that it should also approve electronic signatures in a bid to facilitate the completion of governmental transactions electronically.
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