Libya orders arrest of second minister over corruption allegations

Order comes one week after arrest of education minister in similar case

Libya's capital Tripoli - government ministers are being questioned about corruption. AFP

Libyan prosecutors ordered the arrest of the country's culture minister as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in the handling of state funds.

Culture Minister Mabrouka Touki was detained a week after Libya arrested its education minister in similar circumstances.

Prosecutors questioned Ms Touki and ordered her to be held on charges of “falsifying official documents to complicate the processes of review and oversight of public spending”, they said in a statement on Wednesday.

The charges relate to alleged corruption in the conduct of a contract for maintenance works on ministry buildings which were already refurbished.

Ms Touki, an academic with a degree in nuclear physics, was appointed minister in March as part of the country's interim unity government.

Her arrest came a week and a half after Education Minister Moussa Al Megarief was arrested in an inquiry into a lack of schoolbooks.

The prosecution service said it was investigating possible negligence in that case.

Libya plunged into a decade of chaos following the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Its state institutions are riddled with corruption.

Libya planned to stage a presidential election on Friday in a United Nations-led effort to appoint a full-time unity government. The ballot was delayed to an unspecified date after arguments over divisive candidates and a disputed legal framework.

Updated: December 30th 2021, 4:48 AM