The head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams, announced on Monday, "the completion of the necessary measures to initiate the international financial audit of the branches of the Central Bank of Libya" in Tripoli and Al-Bayda.
In a statement received by Alwasat, Williams said that this process is "the culmination of a process laudably commenced by GNA Prime Minister Sarraj on July 10, 2018 in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in which he requested the United Nations to facilitate an international audit of the Central Bank branches." The statement added that on September 13, 2018, the United Nations Security Council, in its resolution No. 2434, mandated the United Nations Support Mission in Libya to "facilitate the procedures for starting the required financial review process."
The statement pointed out that the Governors of the Central Bank branches “agreed to and finalized the Terms of Reference of the audit in December of that year (2018)” after several meetings chaired in the fall of the same year by the former UN envoy, Ghassan Salamé.
During this stage of the process, the mission said in the statement that it had "consulted with international financial institutions, and in September 2019, representatives of the two branches of the Central Bank of Libya participated in the evaluation of bids submitted by qualified international auditing firms."
The mission confirmed that the team voted unanimously to award the contract to Deloitte, in line with the best practices and advice of technical professionals at the United Nations. The auditing company that has been awarded the contract to initiate the audit as soon as possible.
The UN mission considered that "the international financial audit process is a very important step towards enhancing transparency in the Libyan financial system and creating the necessary conditions for the eventual unification of the Central Bank of Libya."
"And just as important, this process comes to enable an informed dialogue about the equitable distribution of national revenues in Libya and the re-establishment of national accountability mechanisms," she added.
"In addition to the mandate issued by the UN Security Council, the international financial audit is a high priority for the International Follow-up Committee on Libya, which was established during the Berlin conference process," the statement said.
"As the process begins, the international community and the Libyan public, will be watching closely to ensure that all parties fully cooperate with the process," the mission said.
The mission also confirmed that it "UNSMIL will coordinate closely with the National Audit Bureau authorities in western and eastern Libya through the course of the international audit. It is fully expected that the national audit authorities will conduct any follow-on or forensic audits recommended as a result of the international audit.
At the end of the statement, the mission urged "the immediate lifting of the blockade imposed by the Libyan Arab Armed Forces on Libya’s oil facilities."
Adding: "The National Oil Corporation has warned that a continuation of the blockade risks further damage to and deterioration of Libya's vital oil infrastructure and pipeline network. The NOC must be allowed to fully resume its operations for the benefit of all Libyans and the future of the country. "