Judge questions Ogero officials in illegal internet case

The head of the state-owned telecommunications company Ogero and two other officials testified Thursday as witnesses in investigations into country’s the unlicensed Internet case.

A source told The Daily Star that Mount Lebanon’s Investigative Judge Rami Abdallah questioned Abdel-Moneim Youssef along with Ogero’s IT director Toufic Chebaro and Internet Division Director Gaby Smaira. This is the second time Abdallah questions Youssef and the first time he questions Chebaro and Smaira.

Abdallah is set to expand on the investigations next week by listening to internet and telecommunication experts, the source added.

Eight people so far have been arrested in the case and many more charged in absentia.

Financial Prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim indicted on May 13 three high-level officials at Ogero, including Youssef, Chebaro and Smaira, after Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb granted judiciary permission to pursue the company’s staff who are linked to the case.

The three officials were indicted over “negligence that led to the squandering of public funds and evading taxes by allowing some people to set up unlicensed Internet in the country.”