The Minister of Telecom Boutros Harb announced that faulty accounting procedures have denied the Treasury millions of dollars in revenue. More than $1.2 billion have been deposited by the ministry at the Central Bank (BDL) since 2010, where it awaits transfer to the Treasury.
“Prior to that date, regular transfers from landline and mobile operations were taking place from the ministry (directly) to the Treasury,” said Imad Hoballah, acting chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA).
Harb has initiated an effort to transfer outstanding telecom funds back to the Treasury.
He added in a statement: “The 2013 revenues from one of the mobile operators were down $105 million from 2012. The surprise was that more than $100 million in losses should be added to the tally due to faulty accounting."
Accounting at the ministry reveals $625.7 million in revenues for 2013 paid to BDL from one of the operators, but the real number should only be $500 million, That same operator paid $730 million in revenues for 2012.
According to Harb, 2013 revenues were not net values, and did not reflect expenses. “We are conducting a thorough audit to discover what happened in the past, but this surely reflects a lack of transparency and masking of truth on the ministry’s part,” he said.
Harb, had in a previous statement, also accused mobile operators at deliberately fudging their numbers.