Gemayel Proposes Formation of Probe Committee to Investigate Illegal Hires

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Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Wednesday submitted a proposal suggesting the formation of a parliamentary probe committee that would be tasked with investigating the illegal hires that have been uncovered lately in the public sector.

The Parliament's Finance and Budget committee has been examining the hiring of about 5000 people during a job freeze that came into effect in August 2017, noting that the illegal employment was mostly done ahead of the parliamentary elections in May 2018.

In his proposal, Gemayel pointed out that a hiring freeze was put in place following the ratification of the Salary Scale Law, which granted a salary hike to public sector employees, in order to ease the burden on the state's finances.

The lawmaker stressed that the Article 21 of Law 46 clearly stipulates halting employment in all public administrations and institutions for two years, unless approved by the government based on an assessment report carried out by the relevant authorities.

In his proposal, Gemayel argued that a parliamentary probe committee was needed to address the executive authority's failure to ensure the full and flawless implementation of the provisions of the Law 46 when it comes to the hiring freeze, adding that ordinary parliamentary committees do not have enough prerogatives to follow up on this issue until the end.

"We request the formation of a parliamentary committee that would investigate suspicions and the violations that were committed against the Constitution and the Lebanese laws in terms of the hires that were made following August 2017," Gemayel said in the proposal. "We also request that this committee would be granted the powers bestowed on investigative judges in order to enable it to conduct the necessary investigations."

Gemayel noted that the probe committee's mission would consist in identifying the people employed after August 2017, examining their profiles in accordance with the job descriptions and requirements, assessing if their employment was initially needed, determining the cost entailed by each hire, and checking its compliance with the legal framework of the public sector's finances.

The lawmaker stressed that, in addition to all the before-mentioned tasks, the committee would look into the motives behind those illegal hires (whether nepotism or electoral bribery), and identify those responsible for them.

When its work is finalized, the committee would submit a final report to the Parliament so that it would take the necessary measures and hold whoever is found responsible to account.