As reported by Naharnet, protest movement groups filed a lawsuit with Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim against Lebanese Caretaker Telecom Minister Mohammed Choucair and others over what they alleged were the “illegal” extensions of the contracts of Lebanon’s mobile network operators Alfa and Touch.
The lawsuit accuses the Caretaker Minister and “others” who were identified during investigations of “the waste of public funds and the violation of the public auditing law,” by seeking to allow the extension of contracts with both Touch and Alfa.
The lawsuit points out that the minister and others are seeking that extension “despite the report issued by the Telecom Parliamentary Committee, and a previous lawsuit by the financial prosecution against the directors of the two firms on charges of illicit enrichment and graft.”
As reported by Naharnet, the National News Agency named the groups that filed the lawsuit, being the following organizations and movements: The People Want to Reform the System, Awareness Initiative, People’s Movement, Youth Movement for Change, People Resist, Youths of the Bank, and We Want a Country.
The telecommunication sector in Lebanon has been under much scrutiny, and rightly so. It is one of the most profitable in the country with a revenue to the Lebanese government budget estimated at 1,920 billion LBP. The Lebanese Parliament and the Cabinet are said to control any modifications or improvements to that sector.
Although one of the most profitable, the sector hasn’t been as such for the employees. Earlier in November, they were informed by the Telecom Minister Choucair that the ministry cannot guarantee the safeguard of their rights and benefits as per the already agreed upon collective work contract.
Touch and Alfa employees decided accordingly to join the ranks and ask for their rights in a strike, calling for the renewal of the contract with the preservation of their rights and benefits as it was in previous years, and refusing the 30% reduction of their annual income.