The Anti-Corruption Law in the public sector and the creation of a National Commission to combat corruption No. 175 of 08/05/2020 (hereinafter) has been published in the Official Gazette No.20 dated 14th May 2020.
First, the said Law defined corruption as “the abuse of power or activity in connection with public money for the purpose of generating illicit personal profits or advantages for his benefit or for the benefit of third parties whether directly or indirectly.”
Besides, this Law listed comprehensively the acts of corruption referring on the one hand to the crimes of corruption provided for in the Penal Code such as bribery, gratuities, trading in influence, subtractions, embezzlement or other illicit uses of properties or funds, post abuse as well as illicit enrichment and all acts of corruption defined in international conventions to which Lebanon has acceded. This Law also assimilates corruption, offenses or influence peddling which illegally facilitated the obtaining of market concessions and public contracts or licenses or the delegation of public services or their improper performance by personal private interest.
Moreover, the abovementioned Law assimilated corruption to insider trading and the misuse of confidential or sensitive information resulting in an illegal profit or advantage.
The Law No. 175 provided for penalties ranging from three months to three years of prison in addition to a fine amounting to up to the double or triple the amount of the foreseeable or realized material profit.
Thus, criminal investigations and prosecutions can be carried out for crimes of corruption without the need to obtain any prior authorization, as long as such prosecutions are carried out by virtue of the National Commission’s request.
This Law provides also for the possibility to carry out criminal prosecutions for crimes of corruption even in the event of the resignation of the offender, dismissal, retirement or retirement.
The National Commission has a legal personality, and a financial and administrative independence. This Commission is formed of six members (two judges, one lawyer, one public accountant and two experts in the banking and public finance sector) one appointed by decree issued by the Government for six (6) years that shall not be renewable. The National Commission is responsible for ensuring the fight against corruption and compliance with international conventions ratified by Lebanon.
This Commission must particularly:
- Fight against corruption, carry out the necessary prospecting and investigations and collect complaints relating thereto;
- Investigate complaints and refer suspects to the competent authorities while following the files;
- File a complaint against the suspects whenever it deems necessary and request the concerned judicial authorities to take the necessary preventive measures;
- Assess the situation of corruption and prepare reports and suggestions relating to this matter;
- Disseminate the principles of integrity and prevention as widely as possible;
- Receive asset and assets from officers and public agents;
- Receive complaints relating to the complaints related to the Access to information Law (Law No.28/2017);
- Protect and financially reward whistleblowers.