In a Sunday Mass sermon, Lebanon’s top Christian leader, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, expressed his stance on recent calls for a forensic audit and also warned that obstruction of a government formation could lead to exploitation and domination of struggling Lebanese people.
“The call for a forensic audit would be serious if it is comprehensive, but not with its blatant intended selectivity,” he said, adding that there can be no forensic audit before a government is formed.
These statements came in response to President Michel Aoun‘s recent prioritization of the forensic audit over forming a government, holding that it was the only path to gaining international financial support.
However, for months, ample foreign diplomats have stressed the importance of forming a new government to implement needed reforms that would restore the confidence of the international community and hence open the door to gaining financial aid.
Speaking to Reuters, a senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which had requested a forensic audit be conducted, has recently highlighted the necessity of a new government to launch reforms and get Lebanon out of its economic crisis.
There was no mention of a forensic audit as a priority action.
From his side, this is what Aoun had to say: “Corrupt people will fear the forensic audit while innocent people will rejoice in it.”
Fear of exploitation and domination
In his sermon, Patriarch Al-Rahi sternly called out those obstructing the government formation by using “constitutional interpretations,” “imaginary powers,” and “absurd conditions,” which are acting as a cover for the real issue, which is that Lebanon is a hostage to regional and international conflict.
He fears that parties may be intentionally preventing a new government to block aid in order to drive Lebanon to financial collapse and exploit struggling and starving people who will be left with no choice but to accept their terms.
Essentially, he warned that the obstruction of a government formation will facilitate dictatorship and the “domination of the people and the state.”