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Hotels vow legal action against Libyan gov’t over outstanding dues

Hospitals association says Tripoli refusing to pay remainder of debts

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jul 09,2019 - Last updated at Jul 09,2019

AMMAN — The Jordan Hotels Association (JHA) said it is planning to file a lawsuit by the end of July against the Libyan government over outstanding dues as “Tripoli failed to make good on its promises”.

JHA President Abdul Hakeem Al Hindi told The Jordan Times that the total debt stands at JD78 million to entities registered and not registered with the JHA, of which JD55 million belongs to the JHA and its affiliated entities.

He stressed that facilities not registered with the association have the right to get paid as well, especially since many of them have faced a lot of financial problems and some even had to close down.

The payment of Libyan debts will help meet the financial commitments of these facilities and “refresh” the hotel sector, Hindi said.

"These are the rights of people, many of whom are going back and forth between courts to get their dues paid, through no fault of their own," Hindi said.

The association president said they do not wish to take escalatory measures, but the debts have been accumulating since 2012, and the Libyan government has been making promises ever since without fulfilling any, causing many facilities to close down. 

He added that the association has hired three auditing companies to calculate the full debt over the years, but these measures turned out to be “ways to delay the payment”.

Since the conflict in Libya broke out, the Kingdom has received Libyans seeking treatment, with their debts to private hospitals, hotels and other companies piling on since.

At the end of last year, during a visit by Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez Sarraj to Jordan, an agreement was reached under which the Libyan authorities pledged to pay its nationals’ outstanding debts to hospitals, which reached $220 million, by April 2019.

By the end of May, the Libyan government transferred $110 million to its account in the Central Bank of Jordan in order to pay its debts to Jordanian hospitals, President of the Private Hospitals Association Fawzi Hammouri told The Jordan Times at the time. 

The money was meant to reimburse many sub-segments of the Jordanian medical sector that have been treating Libyans in the Kingdom. However, the money has not been transferred to the hospitals yet, he said. 

Hammouri told The Jordan Times on Monday that, under the agreement, the transfer was meant as an instalment of the total debt, which was calculated after the auditing of a Jordanian-Emirati company for health management.

However, the Libyan government consulted with the auditing company again, and claimed that the debt is only $120 million, he added.

“How can they decide to cut down a hundred million dollars for hospitals, and ask us to sign a clearance that stipulates we will release the Libyan government and all its institutions from accountability?” Hammouri said, expressing the association’s rejection of the proposal.

Discussions are still ongoing with the concerned officials, he said, noting that no agreement or final decision has been reached so far. 

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