Files of corruption are many in Lebanon, and it seems like every time we think we’ve seen and heard it all, new people and new acts of corruption come to light.
Some of these cases are truly unbelievable… like when you realize that the head of Ogero, the fixed infrastructure operator in Lebanon of broadband internet and data services, allegedly gets a higher salary than President Trump.
According to a report made by LBCI Lebanon, the American President receives a monthly salary of $33,000 while Imad Karidiyeh, the head of Ogero, has a monthly salary of 48,366,000 Lebanese pounds, which is more than $32,200 dollars when the exchange rate was 1,500.
That in addition to a two-month annual grant, which makes Kreidieh’s salary higher than Trump’s salary.
Noting that, according to the same report, ex-Minister of Communications Jamal El-Jarrah has previously illegally raised Kraidieh’s salary.
Corruption in this company, which was founded by the state in 1972, doesn’t only stop at the salary of the head. The number of employees, the manner in which they are hired, and the duration of their employment, as well as their salaries, are also raising questions.
Also according to LBC’s report, ever since Kreidieh got his position, 30 advisers have been hired, 21 contracts have been signed in one year, and 9 contracts have been renewed.
This all took place with no tests or any consideration to the qualifications.
The report revealed that the advisers get paid up to 8,500,000 LBP monthly. One of them is the son of the Director-General of the Internal Security Forces.
More so, one of the advisers reportedly has only a high-school diploma, and another is a 2nd-year theater student who gets paid 8.5 million LBP monthly.
These are just some of the cases of illegal employments in the company as the report cited the existence of many more.
As widely known by now, the internet service in Lebanon is barely satisfactory; a pain residents constantly complain about. Simply put, it’s spotty and laggy.
Lebanon is still behind most of the world in terms of internet speed and connection. It’s hard to even justify these contracts and salaries at Ogero.
A desperate Lebanese had even to tweet to Elon Musk back in June asking him to position one of his satellites over Lebanon so the people can get some decent internet to work with. That’s how bad it is in the country.
In fact, the Speedtest Global Index (SGI) ranked Lebanon this year at 161 out of 177 countries in terms of broadband connection speed.
For Lebanon, also according to the SGI, the average download speed is an embarrassing 8.10 Mbps comparing to the global average download rate of 73.58 Mbps as of February 2020.
And this speed of Lebanon’s internet is not even easy to maintain.
So how would we justify the head of Ogero’s salary being almost higher than the president of one of the superpowers of the world, and the hiring of unqualified “advisers” and the high-salaries in a company failing to provide simple decent internet, and on, and on?