Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said Sunday he regrets that the Lebanese society has become corrupt, and called on the security services to close illegal border crossings and prevent smuggling.
Rahi was hinting at the latest security raids on hidden fuel and diesel tanks amid the severe fuel shortages that have crippled hospitals and caused long power cuts, and the tons of medicine that have been hoarded at warehouses throughout the country.
“I encourage security apparatuses to expand their raids to include every person monopolizing medicine and basic goods,” he said.
The Patriarch also called on concerned security officials to close all illegal border crossings and prevent the smuggling of goods from Lebanon to Syria.
Rahi spoke during Sunday’s mass in his summer residence in Diman.
He called for expediting the formation of a rescue government that is up to the challenges, and that is neutral, non-partisan, and includes highly qualified people.
On the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion, Rahi said he is against “politicizing or paralyzing the investigation,” saying “no official should be exempted from being questioned by the judiciary over the blast.”
The Patriarch said even President Michel Aoun had told the country's public prosecutor he was ready to give a statement about the explosion.
“What has become with the investigation into the port explosion crime? What is the fate of the summons issued against deputies, ministers and the head of security and military apparatuses?” he asked.
Rahi was hinting to the subpoena issued by Judge Tarek Bitar for caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab after the latter failed to show up for questioning in the case.
Bitar, leading the inquiry into the huge explosion, issued requests in July to question Diab and other top officials, including former ministers, who were charged by his predecessor with negligence over the blast.
However, the subpoena drove dismay and negative reactions from former prime ministers and Dar al-Fatwa.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Archdiocese of Beirut Elias Audi wondered in his sermon on Sunday if the concerned authorities have held accountable any of the persons who had hidden fuel tanks or illegally stored medicines.
The Bishop urged the Lebanese to be loyal and supportive to one another and to their country, saying: “Love your brethren who need you most, and do not abuse them, imitating the unjust, who only care about themselves by securing what they eat, what they drink, and what they store.”
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat