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A look into Sahara Bank’s squandering case

Squandering of LYD 100 million from Sahara Bank and arrest of the bank’s senior officials over charges of involvement in the case raised controversy in the Libyan street.

On Wednesday, the Head of the Investigations Bureau at Libya’s Attorney General’s Office, Siddiq Al-Sour, issued  an arrest warrant for the General Manager of Sahara Bank, Abu Bakr Al-Wadani, suspected of involvement in squandering LYD 100 million.

Investigations over two months showed that Al-Wadani and a number of the bank’s employees, including an employee who fled abroad, were involved in squandering public money.

Director of public relations office in Sahara Bank, Issam Hamza, told 218 News that Al-Sour phoned Al-Wadani on Tuesday morning and asked him to come to his office and upon his arrival he was arrested.

The case dates back to 2016, when LYD 100 million were squandered in the bank’s El-Maya branch through manipulating Sukuk issuance, according to Hamza.

Audit Bureau suspends senior bank’s officials

Earlier, the Audit Bureau issued a decree suspending the Sahara Bank’s chairperson, general manager, and director of the Branch Network Administration and his assistant, in addition to the former director of Sahara Bank’s El-Maya branch and another staff member.

The Audit Bureau explained that the decision came on the background of reports concerning the neglect and low performance of the mentioned bank officials, as well as abuse of authority, and acts that inflicted damage to public money.

A protest against arrest of bank’s manager

On Thursday, employees of the Sahara Bank staged a protest in front of the bank’s HQ, to protest the arrest of Al-Wadani upon orders of the Attorney General.
The protesters raised banners denouncing the step and demanding transparency in investigations rather than making accusations without firm evidence.

Special Deterrence Force raids El-Maya branch

In last February, Tripoli-based Special Deterrence Force (SDF) attacked the Sahara Bank in the coastal district of El-Maya, west of Tripoli, and killed commander of the armed group controlling the bank at the time.

The SDF said in a post on Facebook that it raided the bank in the morning and arrested 11 persons involved in robbery and abduction in El-Maya after exchange of fire with the armed group led by Abu Hamira Jawida, who was killed in the attack.

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