President Michel Aoun claimed that none of his family members have been involved in corruption, in comments made to French magazine Paris Match published Thursday.
“There is no one in my family who is involved in corruption, but if we assume someone is involved, I will deal with him as I deal with others [and] refer him to the judicial investigation to receive his punishment,” Aoun said.
“I do not regret being president at all,” Aoun added. “I have never escaped from responsibility. Rather I bear it to the end.”
Lebanon is suffering the worst economic crisis in its modern history, stemming from decades of systematic corruption and mismanagement. The local currency has lost around 80 percent of its value against the dollar on the black market since October. Banks have clamped down on withdrawals and transfers of US dollars. Food prices have soared, businesses and households have been thrown into disarray, salaries and savings are fast disappearing and unemployment has surged.
The president has yet to set a date for binding parliamentary consultations on designating a new prime minister, more than two weeks after Prime Minister Hassan Diab submitted the resignation of his government on Aug. 10 under the brunt of mounting public outrage over the Beirut Port explosion.
The blast, which was a result of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate carelessly stored in the port warehouse, is largely seen as emblematic of the government’s negligence and corruption.
During a visit to Lebanon, Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Thursday that Lebanese leaders should respond proactively to popular anger by enacting serious reforms against corruption.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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