Libya: Health Minister remanded in custody

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The Libyan health minister, Ali Zenati, and his number two were remanded in custody Tuesday as part of an investigation into alleged corruption, judicial sources said on Wednesday.

The Minister and Deputy Minister of Health were "heard about the failure to comply with the regulations applied in administrative contracts ..., especially regarding the sale of oxygen production units, with a markup of up to 1000% of the purchase price," said the Attorney General in a statement.

The same source also cites "the signing of contracts directly with companies founded on August 10, 2021, which do not meet the requirements of solvency and expertise to carry out the work subject to the contracts."

"The Prosecutor has decided to place them in pre-trial detention, based on sufficient evidence of their responsibility for the facts they are accused of," after hearing them the same day, Tuesday.

Libya has been mired in a major political crisis since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011. Institutions are failing and corruption is rampant.

The Minister of Health is the third in the Dbeibah government to be investigated in recent weeks.

On December 20, the education minister was detained as part of an investigation into a general shortage of textbooks in the country, where the functioning of many services is disrupted by the chaos.

In late December, a preventive detention order was issued against the Minister of Culture in connection with another investigation into corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

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