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Tuesday, 23 August, 2011, 3:16 ( 1:16 GMT )
Former Minister Accuses Seif al-Islam of Mismanagement of Libyan Funds
21/08/2011 13:32:00
Dr Fathi Ben Shatwan, former minister in the Al Qathafi regime during his interview on Euronews

Billions Stolen in Libya, Says Former Minister

Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi's second son, Seif al-Islam is being accused by a former minister in the Al Qathafi regime of mismanagement of Libyan funds and that in the last few years, billions of dollars accrued from oil production have been embezzled. Seif was the one in charge of transferring money and channelling funds abroad.

In an interview on Euronews Dr. Fathi Ben Shatwan, who for years formed part of the Al Qathafi regime as secretary (minister) for industry, and then, for two years, until 2006 also served as Libya's energy minister, said that Libya has known corruption these past 10 years “when Seif Al Islam was in charge of all economic affairs.”

Ben Shatwan was answering a question about money matters, something, the interviewer said, is of especial interest for the Libyans. He was asked: “We know that Libya is an oil exporting country, it’s a rich country. We also know that you were the energy minister. Where is Al Qathafi's money?”

In his reply, the former minister said: “The Libyan economy was in his (Seif's) hands. Those who worked on the Popular General Committee took their orders directly from him.” adding: “through my responsibilities there, my experience is that it is Seif Al-Islam who was in charge of transferring money and channelling funds abroad. That’s what I know.”

Asked if he could give a figure of how much money was embezzled, Ben Shatwan said: “Frankly, people talk about it, they don’t give precise figures, but looking at oil production these last few years we reckon the sum of money embezzled varies between 200 and 250 billion dollars.”

He added that the money has been transferred, ostensibly, as investments or in other forms, out of Libya.

For years, Dr. Ben Shatwan was one of very close to Muammar Al Qathafi and one of the regime's leading spokesman. He had not been involved in government since 2006 but lived quietly in his hometown of Misurata. He fled the country in spectacular manner, on a small boat to Malta and from there to France.

Ben Shatwan explained that when the revolution began on he went to his home town, Misurata, with my family. He said that Misurata joined the revolt and freed itself.

“But,” he went on to say, “after 45 days there I and several others thought it would be better if I returned to Malta and served the revolution from the exterior. So you see, I didn’t flee, but some in the media claimed this and I didn’t want to contradict them…”

He, as well as Mustafa Abdul Jalil the justice minister, and interior minister Abdul Fatah Younis became dissidents after the revolution. Why not before? He was asked. Why wait until the beast has rolled over before reaching for your knives?”

“In reality the Libyan regime was so tightly-controlled and security was so solid that no-one could do anything, even the opposition which tried for 30 or 40 years to change things in vain. So we were left with a choice, leave Libya and become refugees or try to work for our country within the regime,” Ben Shatwan said.

At the beginning of the current revolution the people took to the streets calling freedom, and surprised the political class by taking the initiative from those who could have changed things.

Asked if he could explain why the opposition ran to NATO when the revolution was up and running and the people had decided to free themselves, he said: “In fact the revolution began peacefully, as you know. But the regime quickly embarked on an unprecedentedly violent route, which surprised the whole world.

“This is why NATO and three nations, Britain, France and the United States intervened to save the Libyan people. Remember when the bombardment of Benghazi began. If that had continued 250,000 or 500,000 people would have died,” Ben Shatwan said.

Turning to the Libyan leader, the former minister believed “the vice around him is tightening and he’s now encircled in a 50 kilometre circle around Tripoli.”

Ben Shatwan sees two options open or Al Qathafi: “Either he continues to fight with resulting high casualties in people and property, or he agrees to leave Libya and Tripoli will be saved.”

Speaking about his vision for the Libya of tomorrow, Ben Shatwan feels there's need for a road map. “The Council needs a plan for the different stages of the revolution, from the liberation stage on the ground to the transition and beyond to the period of construction,” he said.

When it comes to NATO, he said that the military alliance entered Libya with a UN mandate and resolution backing it. He added that it has helped the Libyan people a lot, and without its help the number of martyrs would have been very high.

He said: “I think in Libya’s road map to the future we must turn towards the Arab and NATO nations which have helped the Libyan people and saved hundreds of thousands of Libyan lives.”

The way he talked about the future of Libya could have given some the impression that Dr Shatwan was expecting to have some sort of job in the future government. Not so. “I have decided to retire from politics and write, learn, and help others.”
This article has ( 6 ) Comment(s)
Name: bella
Date: 21/08/2011 16:00:13
SHAME ON YOU! you'd better never give up with your lies but one thing we all know is time and circumstances will prove you wrong
Name: dr syeda fatima
Date: 21/08/2011 18:15:10
dr shetwan is abig traitor n agent of un who could sell his country for his gains
Name: jack Haesly
Date: 21/08/2011 19:43:47
After the fighting stops, it seems to me, the first line of business woulld be to follow the money and re-claim for the Libyian people all the money that may have been taken illegally from oil sales. Further, those that may have acted illegally should be made to stand trial for mis-deeds, if proven.
Name: Frank Blazey
Date: 22/08/2011 03:44:19
The rats are fleeing from their sinking ediface. May the oil $$ be recovered for the country's rebuilding, and may the National Council come together and rule with honor and decency. Qaddaffi's 42 years of rule are an affront to legitimacy and a testament to greed and dictatorial power. May all other dictator's take note-Chavez, Assad, Raul Castro-power for life is insidious.
Name: stentor
Date: 22/08/2011 07:18:21
women will do and say anything for a bad boy, even a murderous dictating one
Name: stentor
Date: 22/08/2011 07:18:56
women will do and say anything for a bad boy, even a murderous dictating one
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