High transparency and good governance standards in Lebanon are growing in importance, as a response to the demands of the Lebanese People since the 17th of October 2019, thus becoming the top reform priority across all sectors. This comes in line with the work of the Lebanese Oil & Gas Initiative (LOGI), which aims to ensure the compliance with the highest transparency and accountability standards within the Petroleum sector.
Our study will consequently tackle a specific issue pertaining to public funds collected up until today from Petroleum activities (the sale of seismic surveys and application fees). In fact, there is a great need to obtain information and to establish the mechanisms required to identify the source and quantity of funds deposited in the State Treasury and circulating in and out of it.
This investigative study by journalist Jad Ghosn aims to answer the following questions:
Where are the returns deposited?
What is the legal framework governing these returns?
Who can maneuver these returns?
Has a part of these returns been used?
Was the principle of transparency applied in the disclosure of the returns balance movements (public funds)?
How will these funds be used in the future?
Upon the conclusions of the investigative research, LOGI recommends the following:
Executing an independent audit (Auditor chosen according to a TOR that ensures nonpartisanship) of the bank account containing these returns by an international and independent auditing firm to vet the deposited incomes and their sources, and to verify the spending of any funds deposited in said account.
Elaborating a law prohibiting the use of these returns, to prevent their spending until the creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Publishing the conventions/contracts by virtue of which the Lebanese State is collecting a share from the sale of seismic data.
Last but not least, we invite the current members of parliament to query/question the Minister of Energy and Water about these returns.