The forensic audit was a key demand by the IMF and international donors prior to giving Lebanon any money, and Diab’s government announced back in July that they’re hiring Alvarez & Marsal to conduct the audit. While many hailed the signing as a major step towards fighting corruption and widespread waste in state institutions, it was clear the that New-York-based company was bound to fail for many reasons:
1- BDL was clear since day 1 that they will abide by the Lebanese laws (banking secrecy), and won’t be providing the company with the necessary information.
2- The original contract was altered to prevent the company from overruling the Central Bank governor and getting to the information they need.
3- The Finance Ministry, which Berri & Hezbollah refuse to give up, is not fond of the forensic audit happening and won’t be collaborating even if needed.
4- The Lebanese state, if willing, can overrule the banking secrecy rules to allow a proper audit of the ministries and the central bank. Needless to say, the last thing they want is show the world how many billions they’ve been stealing.
5- The audit was meant as PR stunt and a political move against the Central Bank, not a serious attempt to fight corruption. If it were, it would have included all ministries and governmental agencies.
All in all, anyone who followed closely how this agreement was signed, would have known it wasn’t getting anywhere, and that’s why no one even bothered to protest against A&M pulling out. We don’t need a foreign company to tell us who’s stealing what, we need first and foremost an independent juridical body and a competent government capable of implementing the law and holding those in power accountable. Until then, don’t expect much from this Sulta.