New Libyan foreign minister wins integrity appeal

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 27, 2012 11:31 AM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's proposed foreign minister was cleared by an Integrity Commission on Tuesday to take office after some lawmakers questioned how close the former ambassador to the United States had been to the ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Ali Aujali was among eight of the 27 ministers nominated by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan who were referred to the commission, which studies the backgrounds of public officials, after protests outside congress over the make up of the cabinet.

Congress only elected Zeidan prime minister last month after his predecessor lost a confidence vote over his choice of ministers - reflecting the fractious and fractured nature of politics in Libya, which lost most of the eccentric institutions founded by Gaddafi to run the country when was toppled.

The eight ministers were invited to appeal their cases, and Aujali won his, according to a statement on the Facebook page of the Integrity Commission, which is made up of legal experts appointed by the previous ruling assembly.

"After deliberation and based on reasons outlined in the application of the national standards of integrity in favor of Mr. Aujali, unless new evidence shows a need for revision of this resolution. The prime minister has been notified of the decision," the statement read.

Aujali was Libya's ambassador to the United States during the war that toppled Gaddafi in August 2011. A telegram presented to the commission as part of his appeal showed he had defected on March 22 - a month after the uprising began.

Integrity Commission spokesman Nasser Bilnur said Aujali was now able to take up his position as foreign Minister.

"Ali Aujali can immediately take up his duties as foreign minister of Libya and receive his files from his deputy," he said.

He said the commission had not made a decision on the appeals of the other seven ministers and planned to investigate 24 more ministers in the government.

(Reporting By Ali Shuaib; Writing By Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Alison Williams)