The Acting Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams has announced the finalization of the process to initiate an international audit of the two branches of the Central Bank of Libya.
The UNSMIL said 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 in Tripoli and Beyda as a means to restore integrity, transparency and confidence in the Libyan financial system and create the conditions for the unification of Libyan financial institutions."
The UN mission added that on September 13 2018, the UN Security Council, in Resolution 2434, mandated UNSMIL to support the requested financial review process.
"Following several meetings chaired by former SRSG Ghassan Salame in the fall of 2018, Governors Al-Kabir and Al-Hibri agreed to and finalized the Terms of Reference of the audit in December of that year." The UNSMIL said in a statement on Monday.
"During this phase of the process, UNSMIL consulted with the International Financial Institutions. In September 2019, representatives of the two branches of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) participated in a selection panel to review bids submitted by qualified international auditing firms. In compliance with best practices and with the advice of UN technical specialists, the panel voted unanimously to award the contract to Deloitte." It added.
The UNSMIL indicated that UNOPS, the UN agency that managed the procurement process, has now finalized the contract with the awarded company in order for the audit to commence as soon as possible.
It also remarked that the international financial review process is a critical step towards enhancing transparency in the Libyan financial system and creating the conditions for the eventual unification of the CBL.
"The process is equally important to have an informed dialogue on the equitable distribution of national revenue in Libya and to re-establish national accountability mechanisms. Beyond its UN Security Council mandate, the international audit review is a top priority for the International Follow up Committee for Libya established during the Berlin process. 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." UNSMIL indicated.
UNSMIL said it would coordinate closely with the National Audit Bureau authorities in western and eastern Libya through the course of the international audit, adding that it was fully expected that the national audit authorities will conduct any follow-on or forensic audits recommended as a result of the international audit.
UNSMIL also urged for the immediate lifting of the blockade imposed by Haftar's forces, saying 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. UNSMIL hopes that the international community will fully support this urgent call." It added.