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Gebran Bassil and the Price of Political Transparency: “No Deed Goes Unpunished”

They say “no good deed goes unpunished”. In Gebran Bassil’s case, the deed often goes punished, degraded, vilified, or denounced. Every positive initiative that Minister Bassil has taken so far, whether lifting financial secrecy off his personal accounts and the accounts of all members of his Bloc or vindicating his name in court against a series of attacks and allegations, failed to deter key politicians and thousands of their followers from continuing to politically and unfairly assassinate him.

Noteworthy though is the fact that accusations of corruption and illicit deals against him have been totally repudiated: All charges and suits brought against him in courts of law were either dismissed, refuted, or met with winning counterclaims. There was no evidence whatsoever that he committed any of the purported offenses.

But, the truth always prevails. Always.

The following are the details of the cases (charges and outcome):

  1. Mr. Achraf Rifi falsely accused Minister Bassil of corruption. Outcome: Due to lack of lack of evidence, judgement (Number 2019/11) was rendered against Mr. Rifi in the amount of 15 million Lebanese Liras (April 18, 2019).
  2. Mr. Joe Maalouf falsely accused Minister Bassil of owning: a plane, a $1 billion bank account, and several real estate properties (during two episodes on his show). Outcome: Judgements (Numbers 2018/11 and 2019/8) against Mr. Maalouf in the amount of 10 million Lebanese Liras (March 21, 2018 and May 3, 2019). The amount was settled by Mr. Maalouf.
  3. Mr. Charles Ayoub falsely accused Minister Bassil of corruption, illicit electricity deals, and receiving the Qatar donation. Outcome: Judgement (Number 2019/4577) against Mr. Ayoub who submitted a notarized statement committing not to repeat his offense (March 3, 2019).
  4. Ms. Paula Yacoubian falsely accused Minister Bassil of corruption. Outcome: In a civil suit, Ms. Yacoubian retracted her statement.
  5. Mr. Rashid Jumblatt appeared in court for defaming Minister Bassil. Outcome: Judgement (Number 2018/161) against Mr. Jumblatt in the amount of 10 million Lebanese Liras (June 4, 2018).
  6. Mr. Firas Bou Hatoum appeared in court for defaming Minister Bassil. Outcome: Mr. Bou Hatoum officially apologized on several social media outlets (December 6, 2018).
  7. For defaming Minister Bassil, a legal notice was filed against Mr. Marwan Salam (December 12, 2019).
  8. Mr. Fidaa Itani appeared in court for defaming Minister Bassil. Outcome: Judgments (Numbers 2018/437, 2018/438, 2018/439, 2018/440, 2019/441. 2019/442, and 2018/443) against Mr. Itani in the amount of 5 million Lebanese Liras each.

It seems there is a price for political transparency in Lebanon. It evidently intimidates politicians who are accustomed to concealing the truth about their corrupt activities. Subsequently, they habitually resort to slander and denigration; it’s called deflection.

But, the truth always prevails. Always.

Marlene Sabeh

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