Tunisia: BFT Case - Hearing Session of Acting Minister of State Property in Camera At ARP

Tunis/Tunisia — The hearing session of Acting Minister of State Property and Land Affairs, Ahmed Adhoum, held Monday at the House of People Representatives (French: ARP), on the Franco-Tunisian Bank (BFT) case, was held in camera, as this case is submitted to justice, said Chair of the parliamentary Committee for Administrative Reform, Good Governance and the Fight against Corruption, Badreddine Gammoudi.

Gammoudi told TAP the committee has taken note of the developments of the case brought before the court concerning "the falsification of the final report of the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD), especially excerpts relating to the BFT case.

He recalled, in this context, that the Chief Litigation Officer had filed a complaint on February 2, 2021, for falsification of the final report of the IVD, claiming that there is non-conformity between the version published in the Official Gazette and the one submitted to the President of the Republic, especially the excerpts relating to the BFT case.

The parliamentary committee on administrative reform, good governance and the fight against corruption, which also heard executives from the Ministry of Finance, noted the slowness characterising the recovery of the bank's debts, which are estimated at about 300 million dinars (MD), according to its chairman.

"So far, the amount recovered has not exceeded 50 MD," he noted, adding that the BFT has debts, whose amount isunknown.

"We have asked the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) to present us with a detailed list of all outstanding debts owed to the bank, and we intend to reveal the causes of this slow recovery," the MP said.

He also reiterated the Committee's refusal of any proposal to sell the BFT, saying that such a measure may harm the image of Tunisia and public finances, and will further complicate the judicial case underway.

"In addition there is the management of hundreds of bank accounts with this bank and the social situation of tens of 70 banking executives working in this financial institution.

Gammoudi recalled that the parliamentary committee he chairs is ready to put, free of charge, at the disposal of the State Properties Department, the expertise of MPs specialised in finance to find a solution.

The accusation of falsification of the IVD report and the excerpts relating to the case of this bank in this report had been totally rejected by President of the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD), Sihem Ben Sedrine.

She estimated in an interview granted by email to TAP that the cabal around this "False" report aims to annihilate the examination of the BFT case, before the specialised criminal courts and the appearance at the last hearing of February 8, 2021, of influential people in the political landscape and involved in the biggest corruption scandal before this Criminal Court.

Besides, the BFT case will be examined again on May 3, during an ARP session dedicated to the examination of the situation of public banks.

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