Lebanon’s Finance Ministry received on Tuesday new inquiries from Alvarez & Marsal that are requesting clarification before renewing the contract to conduct forensic auditing of Central Bank’s accounts.
“We received some questions from Alvarez & Marsal concerning renewing the contract to conduct forensic auditing of BDL’s accounts. We answered all their questions and now we are waiting for their response,” caretaker finance minister Wazni said yet declined to disclose the nature of these inquiries.
He assured that the company will soon a new contract with the ministry soon enough, confidently adding that the 2021 draft budget will be completed in the next few days.
The firm previously canceled its contract with Lebanon after Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh failed to provide all the required information. Salameh based his refusal back then on Lebanon’s Banking Secrecy Law.
Thus, the Parliament had to pass a law that lifts banking secrecy from public accounts for a year for the purpose of facilitating the controversial forensic audit of the Central Bank and other government institutions, a prerequisite for vital international financial support.
During the month of December, Wazni said the government will approach again Alvarez & Marsal to resume the forensic audit:
“It was decided, based on the Parliament law and government decisions, to communicate with Alvarez & Marsal to follow up on the financial forensic audit of the accounts of Banque du Liban, the ministries, independent interests, funds, and public institutions.”
In related news, Switzerland’s Attorney General has just asked Lebanon’s cooperation in his ongoing investigation of transactions linked to the Central Bank Governor, amounting to nearly $400 million.