Lebanese Authorities to Crack down on Violators of Maritime Property
Lebanon launched last week an operation to tackle violations of maritime properties, which are expected to bring millions of dollars to the state’s treasury.
Security forces began summoning violators, while all illegal properties would be shut within a week after the end of the four-day total lockdown imposed over the coronavirus outbreak.
The move came upon an order by State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat to stop all maritime properties, whose owners did not pay taxes arising from the settlement of their status, and all those who failed to meet the legal conditions for the settlement.
Invested public maritime areas from the north to the south are estimated at around 5 million square meters, including more than 2.5 million unlicensed square meters.
The General Directorate of Transport estimates that if licensed and unlicensed entities pay the required taxes and fees, the annual revenues would reach LBP28 billion (about $18 million based on the official exchange rate).
The file of property violations began during the 1975-90 civil war. The period witnessed the largest systematic misappropriation that affected the maritime property in particular.
As a result of this chaos, the shore area receded with the end of the war from about 220 km to no more than 40 km.
In the 1990s, the Directorate of Geographical Affairs at the Ministry of Works prepared the Marine Violations Project, which listed the names of violators, the types of violations and their uses.
The list showed that those involved in the file included citizens, politicians, diplomats, ministries, mosques, churches and political parties.