BEIRUT — The Mount Lebanon Indictment Chamber on Thursday ordered the continued detention of Hoda Salloum, Director General of the Road Traffic Department. Salloum's arrest was a result of an investigation into suspected corruption in vehicle registration centers across Lebanon.
The court issued the decision in a public statement a week after judge Ghada Aoun filed an appeal challenging a decision by Mount Lebanon investigating judge Ziad Dghaidy who ordered the Salloum's release.
"Hoda Salloum's lawyer, Marwan Daher, presented on April 18 a request to reject the appeal [presented by Ghada Aoun] for formal defects," the statement said. Daher said that Aoun "no longer has the opportunity to carry out any work on this file," since she is the subject of a liability action of the State regarding her judicial work.
But this liability action "has nothing to do with the present accusation," the Mount Lebanon Indictment Chamber said. Thus, "the appeal is accepted" and the decision of Judge Dghaidy is rejected.
Salloum remains in detention. She and dozens of her colleagues were arrested last November.
In his decision on April 12, Judge Dghaidy cited that Salloum's pre-trial detention had already lasted a long time.
Aoun replied in her appeal that according to the law, acts like those committed by Salloum are punishable by detention of up to six months renewable once. In Salloum's case, the detention period ends in May and can be extended until November.
Closed for several months, the vehicle registration centers of Dekwaneh and its branches in Saida, Nabatieh, South Lebanon, Zahle, Bekaa and Tripoli resumed work last week, after a general closure following the mass arrests of the administration's employees.
Some of those arrested were later released, but work at the centers did not resume.
As part of a wider fight against corruption in the country, arrests of employees of the land registries in Mount Lebanon have also been made. Accused of amassing huge sums of money through bribes, land registry officials, particularly in Baabda and Metn, are currently being prosecuted.