BEIRUT — Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has scheduled a Parliament session for next Tuesday to elect seven MPs into the Supreme Council, Berri’s office reported Thursday.
Here’s what we know:
• The Supreme Council, which is authorized to prosecute members of Parliament and ministers, is made up of 15 members, seven of them are MPs and eight of them are judges.
• The elections of MPs to the Supreme Council is of particular interest to those parliamentarians concerned with the Aug. 4, 2020 port blast file and its investigation. The head of the investigation, Judge Tarek Bitar, has summoned a number of former ministers including former Public Affairs Minister Yousef Fenianos, former Finance Minister and sitting MP Ali Hassan Khalil and former Defense Minister and sitting MP Ghazi Zeaiter, who all have so far refused to appear before Bitar. A number of parties, including the Amal Movement, which Berri heads, believe that the matter of prosecuting MPs and ministers should be removed from Bitar’s remit and handed over to the Supreme Council.
• The Parliamentary session will also study and vote on several draft laws, according to Berri’s office. On Monday, the Finance and Budget Committee approved a draft law that would allow the lifting of banking secrecy from some accounts by the judiciary, the National Commission for the Fight against Corruption, the Special Investigation Commission, the National Deposits Guarantee Institution, as well as the tax authorities. Last Thursday, the parliamentary committees approved a law under which Lebanon would receive a World Bank loan of $150 million to finance wheat imports. The full Parliament still has to approve both laws for them to take effect.