BEIRUT — Lebanese State Security raided the Vehicle Registration Center in Dekwaneh, just east of Beirut, seizing fake car insurance papers, the state-run National News Agency reported on Friday.
The raid is part of an ongoing investigation by Lebanese authorities, including arrests, related to corruption in vehicle registration. The investigation has revealed embezzlement by some officials who were selling driving licenses without giving exams, NNA reported.
An arrest warrant was filed against six Road Traffic Department employees on Thursday, bringing the total number of arrest warrants in the investigation to 15. A judicial source told L'Orient Today that five employees from the Nefaa centers in Ouzai and Dekwaneh — in Beirut's suburbs — were arrested after being investigated on Thursday. One of those arrested in the case is the head of the Ouzai center for vehicle registrations, B. Ayad.
Multiple senior employees are being prosecuted. The judicial source also told L'Orient Today that judge Nicholas Mansour, who is investigating the case, will examine those called for prosecution in the Dekwaneh center next week.
Caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi on Tuesday authorized proceedings against the former director general of the Road Traffic Department, Hoda Salloum, for "professional negligence," her lawyer and former MP Hadi Hobeish said.
"We know that bribery exists in all administrations and ministries, and the crime of professional negligence can be applied to all state employees," Hobeish said, adding that if Salloum is to be tried, "she should not be the only one."
Salloum was previously arrested in 2020 on the basis of a search warrant issued by the public prosecutor at the Mount Lebanon Court of Appeal, Ghada Aoun. Many employees of the administration in charge of vehicle registration are also being prosecuted in a corruption case centered on the waste of public funds.
Salloum was also previously arrested in Dec. 2019 and later released on bail in a case involving abuse of power and illicit enrichment. In July 2019, the Court of Auditors pinpointed the lack of transparency in the management of parking meter operating contracts linking the National Directorate of Road Traffic to municipalities.