The Lebanese government announced Saturday, June 30, that it would fight gangs using sophisticated equipment to tap into Lebanon's telecommunications network and also to bring the matter before the public prosecutor's office.
"The government is going to take measures against the piracy of international phone lines," said Post and Telecommunications Minister Jean-Louis Kordahi. The government has previously estimated losses to the state coffers of $250 million from piracy.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Kordahi vowed to bring the affair to the courts.
An official source told AFP that Hariri gave those attending the meeting a list of people and groups behind the illegal tapping of phone lines drawn up by the security forces.
During a June 20 parliamentary session on the crisis, Kordahi had denied that any political parties were involved in the racket, or offering protection to the gangs. But he admitted that "gangs" were using satellite dishes and portable telephone equipment to link up to the fixed phone network.
Walid Jumblatt, whose Druze Progressive Socialist Party has three ministers in the government, then charged that "pirating of international communications has the protection of influential politicians and groups."
The influential Shiite Hizbullah movement has been accused of involvement, but has denied the charges. ― (AFP, Beirut)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )