Mustafa Sanallah, chairman of the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC), refused to resign following Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah’s decision to fire him on Wednesday (July 13). Dbeibah appointed a new chief, Farhat Bengdara, a financier near the United Arab Emirates who had worked with Gaddafi. The head of government also appointed a new board.
In a recorded video, Mustafa Sanallah, the defected head of the oil company, speaks directly to the head of government: “This institution belongs to all Libyans and not to the Dbeibah family,” he said.
Mustafa Sanallah, in office since 2014, does not intend to release it and he has led several attacks on social networks against the Prime Minister. He accuses him of wanting to use his position to sign a contract with NOC in its own interest. Sanallah says he opposed it. He openly questions Dbeibah about a sum of 165 billion dinars allocated by NOC to the prime minister who would have distributed it to his relatives.
And the head of the NOC empties his bag and accuses Dbeibah of wanting to promote contracts with the NOC on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, only to retain power.
Yesterday, loyalists of Dbeibah entered the NOC building to install the new president and his board. These clashes injured some of the employees.
Tensions over control of the national oil company could lead to clashes between militias opposed to Tripoli.
Previously, Noc had a purely technical and administrative role. She had no financial role. The billions of dollars in oil revenues were immediately transferred to the Central Bank of Tripoli. But in September 2020, due to the blockade of the oil terminals, and under direct pressure from Washington, Noc had to handle this money itself. This change in the way we handle these revenues gave Noc a political role. For Jalel Harchaoui, a researcher at the Global Initiative, by appointing a financier to lead this important institution, Dbeibah is trying to control oil revenues.
He will have a privileged, direct right of inspection in the distribution of money. he [Dbeibah, NDLR] is not interested in oil, technology, maintenance or extraction issues, it is interested in money. And besides, he would have satisfied a very important state, the United Arab Emirates. Third, in the same process, he hopes to separate Haftar [Fathi] Bashagha: to please, appease Haftar, by making Bashgha irrelevant to marginalize him while sending forgiveness signals to Haftar.