By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 29 May 2013:
Speaking at today’s lunchtime press conference, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said that “if we want to reactivate projects, we must hit with a hand of steel those who steal the (foreign) companies’ equipment”.
Zeidan was speaking after the Minister of Housing and Utilities, Ali Sherief, announced the reactivation of a raft of housing projects by foreign contractors.
Asked by the media if there was any further progress on the return of foreign contractors, Zeidan reacted strongly. “No one is going to come (to Libya)” if people continue to steal (contracting) company’s property”, he explained.
Zeidan, in a rare show of anger raised his voice from his usual calm tone and pulled no punches as to who is responsible. The usually diplomatic Zeidan also conceded that Libya “had no external enemies or dangers. Our danger is internal”, he admitted.
He stressed that their needed to be more responsibility from the general public. He underscored the fact that no matter how much police or army is used – this could not be enough to secure all locations.
He appealed to the general public and asked citizens to act, stressing that in small communities where everyone knew everyone, the public must know who is responsible for the stealing of property and equipment.
The Prime Minister further appealed for a change of the culture, where public or company’s property was fair game for theft. He appealed on moral and religious grounds and went so far as to refer to the stealing of contracting companies’ property as “treachery” against the nation.
He called upon the public to report those committing crimes against the public interest.
Probably referring to the recent attack on the Mellitah gas complex where armed militias stormed the official government guards and made off with their vehicles, Zeidan condemned those pretending to be acting for the state or national interest – in order to make private gain.
In the strongest tone yet heard from the Prime Minister and clearly referring to renegade militias, Zeidan condemned those who pretend to act for the Revolution only to steal cars. He also condemned them for wanting to be “judge, jury prosecution and thief” all at the same time.