International anti-corruption group Global Witness said Libya’s new government should learn from an audit conducted by the former regime into mismanagement and graft in the country’s oil sector.
The audit, obtained by Global Witness and released on its website, outlines mismanagement to the tune of millions of dollars by the National Oil Co. and the government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who was toppled last year. The protests that led to his removal from power were in part fueled by rampant corruption in the oil sector, which makes up nearly all of government revenue.
“The systematic mismanagement of the country’s oil wealth have [sic] effectively denied millions of dollars to the people of Libya,” said Giulio Carini, a campaigner at Global Witness, in a statement. “The case for reform of the country’s oil sector could not be stronger or more urgent.”
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that authorities in the U.S. and Libya are investigating oil giants over their past relations with the fallen Libyan regime, including whether they paid bribes to get business.
Among the findings in the audit are that the state oil company, during the Gadhafi era, under-priced oil, over-advertised the quality of its crude and provided large discounts to select foreign companies.
Dow Jones Newswires reported on the audit, of which it said it separately obtained extracts. The Newswires report, citing an email from one of the confirmed co-authors of the audit who said she received death threats for raising the issues contained in it, said its findings were still valid despite the fact that they were brought by the former regime.
Global Witness, meanwhile, recommended that the current Libyan government publish all existing and future oil contracts, and to work with international audit organizations to improve accounting practices at the National Oil Co.
“Beyond the need for reforms of Libya’s oil sector, it is hard to think of a more obvious contemporary example than Libya to demonstrate the need for new international standards of transparency and accountability for the extractive industries,” said Carini.
(Source: Wall Street Journal)