Security forces in Lebanon have seized a large number of subsidized products, illegally stored in warehouses in northern Lebanon to be monopolized, the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces (ISF) said in a statement Friday.
The Office of Financial Crimes and Money Laundering in the Judicial Police Unit recently received information about subsidized food items being stored in warehouses in Bohssas, Zgharta, and Koura, North Lebanon.
The stashed items included large amounts of sugar, rice, and grains, the statement said. One of the warehouses had more than 4,500 tons of subsidized sugar.
After extensive investigations, on February 8th, a police force of the aforementioned office raided the sites, seizing “huge amounts of these items.”
Additionally, it was revealed that some of the owners of these warehouses had been emptying the subsidized products from their original packages and repackaging them in transparent bags, in order to sell them later for higher prices.
The ISF’s statement said the owners were fined and the warehouses sealed with red wax as prompted by the judicial authorities, which are currently overseeing the ongoing investigations into the matter.
As Lebanon is going through the worst economic crisis in its history, subsidized items have come to serve as a vital commodity for many Lebanese who have fallen below the poverty line amid unprecedented inflation.
Monopolies over food, medicine, and other essential commodities have increased as more people are relying on subsidized items to survive the soaring prices and deteriorating economic conditions.