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Lebanon’s Speaker Invites MPs to Meet on Returning Stolen Funds

Lebanon’s Speaker Invites MPs to Meet on Returning Stolen Funds

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 11:30
FILE PHOTO: Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri chairs a parliamentary session in Beirut, Lebanon, October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri called on Thursday for two parliamentary committees to meet to discuss draft legislation on banking secrecy and returning stolen state funds.

Berri's call comes after more than a month of nationwide protests against the country's ruling elite and which have included demands for tackling rampant corruption and the looting of state resources.

He said the joint meeting of the parliamentary finance and justice committees would be held on Nov. 27, state news agency NNA reported.

Lebanon's parliament, besieged by angry protesters Tuesday, for a second time postponed a session to discuss draft laws which critics charge would let corrupt politicians off the hook by granting amnesty to thousands convicted of a range of offenses.

The demonstrators see the draft law as a way to clear powerful figures charged with or convicted of crimes ranging from tax evasion to breaches of environmental regulations.

Lebanon has since October 17 been rocked by an unprecedented wave of popular street revolt that have cut across sectarian lines.

What started with protests against a plan to tax online phone calls made through WhatsApp and other applications has turned into a broader popular revolt against the perceived ineptitude and corruption of the entire ruling class.

Amid the crisis, Prime Minister Saad Hariri bowed to street pressure and resigned on October 29.

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