At least three participants in UN-led Libya peace talks were bribed for votes, researchers from the world body said in a report for the Security Council seen by AFP on Sunday.
Prime minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was selected this month during Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) talks launched in Tunisia in November, the United Nations’ latest effort to salvage the country from a decade of conflict and fragmentation.
In a report to be presented to the Security Council in March, UN researchers said that during the Tunisia talks, two participants “offered bribes of between $150,000 to $200,000 to at least three LPDF participants if they committed to vote for Dbeibah as PM”.
The report was prepared by UN officials tasked with examining breaches of an international arms embargo to Libya.
In a passage of their report seen by AFP, the researchers found that one delegate “erupted in anger in lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Tunis on hearing that some participants may have received up to … $500,000 for their Dbeibah votes, whereas he had only received $200,000”.
One participant in the talks told AFP that he had witnessed the scene, voicing anger at “unacceptable corruption at a time when Libya is going through a major crisis”.
The Tunisia talks are aimed at creating a transitional administration to lead the country towards elections set for December.
In February, the 75 participants hand-picked by the UN to represent a wide spectrum of Libyan constituencies themselves selected an interim administration led by billionaire Mr Dbeibah and a three-member presidential council.
Mr Dbeibah must now win a vote of confidence in his government from the Libyan parliament by March 19.
He said on Thursday he had submitted a “vision” for a Cabinet line-up but that the names of proposed ministers would be disclosed in parliament during the confidence vote.
The latest claims came after several Libyan organisations in November demanded an investigation into allegations of corruption in the selection of future officials.
The UN’s interim Libya envoy at the time, Stephanie Williams, told delegates and journalists that she had launched an investigation into allegations of bribery.
In a letter seen by AFP and dated February 20, LPDF participants Sayida Kamel Yaacoubi and Azza Mahmoud Assid called on Ms Williams’ permanent successor Jan Kubis to make the report public, saying the allegations were an affront to their “dignity, honour and transparency”.