Lebanon Electricity: Politicians and Unpaid Bills
Published Friday, May 11, 2012
The government-controlled electric company continues to be a burden on Lebanese taxpayers despite its monopolistic status. Unpaid bills are one reason for its heavy financial losses, and many of those are owed by leading politicians.
Energy Minister Gebran Bassil continues to correspond with the Lebanese electricity company (EDL) concerning outstanding payment on the bills of politicians and other personalities.
On 23 April 2010, the minister sent a letter (#907/O) to EDL’s general director.
It requested that the director inform former and current officials and some personalities and institutions about the need to pay outstanding bills one month after receiving the request.
They were identified by a study conducted by EDL and Kadisha Electrical Company.
Following the grace period, EDL is required to send a detailed report about the balance to the minister.
A series of letters followed suit, ending on 21 February 2012 (#4618/O).
The minister repeated his request for an accounting of late bills and the names of politicians and personalities who have not been penalized, at least by cutting off their electricity, according to EDL procedures.
The company replied, showing that MP Assem Kanso owes the enormous amount of 671,464,790 Lebanese lira (LL) (US$450,000) on fees and bills belonging to several real estate properties in al-Qaa in the Bekaa.
The Phalanges are also late in paying their bills for subscriptions 730000305 and 7310340201 on property #1634 in Sarba.
The first amounts to LL33,435,134 ($22,000) and the second is LL50,763,200 ($34,000).
EDL referred the files of Kanso and the Phalanges to the collections department.
It sent a letter (#927/E) on 25 April 2012 to the land registry office in Jounieh (through the assistant to the director) requesting the execution of the land confiscation order on property #1634 in Sarba, based on two collections orders, M.T. 873/134 and 873/14.
The custody decision was based on Article 38 of Decree 4517/72 (bylaws of public institutions) and Article 45 of the law of public accounting, referring to Article 12 of Decree 147/59 and its amendments.
The Phalanges’ lawyer and representative Riad Mezher promised to pay collection order #873/13 at EDL’s headquarters based on 36 monthly installments of LL1.2 million ($800) each, starting on 10 June 2012 and ending on 10 May 2015.
Concerning order 873/134, Mezher promised it will be paid in 34 monthly installments of LL885,000 ($590) between 10 June 2012 and 10 March 2015.
Kanso’s file is now part of a lawsuit. He was sent a collection order #938/6, registered under #3429/8 on 17 November 2011.
On 25 January 2012, EDL’s lawyer Ali Hussein Yazbek was informed by the civil court of lawsuit #1722/2011 filed against the company by Kanso, requesting that the collection order be rescinded.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.