Naji Mokhtar, the head of the GNC's energy committee, has denied bribing the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) to reopen key oil ports, saying the 2.5 million dinars ($2 million) he handed over was part of mediation efforts in a dispute that’s clogged crude production and sales.
He told a press conference in Tripoli:
"Exceptional times call for exceptional measures ... I went to them thinking they would have a sense of patriotism."
The lawmaker said he submitted 2.5 million dinars of his own money along with four blank “IOUs” to the brother of Ibrahim Al Jedran, a former commander with the PFG, in exchange for reopening the ports, without informing other members of parliament or speaking with the Prime Minister.
He didn’t want the payment made public to avoid spurring other groups to make similar demands, but Al Jedran appeared on several television channels to publicise the payment. Parliament has appointed a committee to investigate the matter and has questioned Mokhtar.
Mokhtar went on to say that Libya has lost $5 billion since the start of the year because of port closures.