Rifi, Abou Faour agree on forming health prosecution

FEBRUARY 17, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) Public Health Minister Wael Abu Faour visited on Tuesday Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi and tackled with him the subject of food safety in the presence of general prosecutor, Judge Samir Hammoud.

After the meeting, the Ministers held a press conference initiated by Abu Faour who announced “the agreement to submit a bill to create a public health prosecution similar to the environment prosecution for the follow-up of food-related files and judicial procedures related to corruption.”

“The draft law we submitted to General Rifi will undergo some modifications to be later referred to the cabinet and then to the parliament at a legislative session to be called for by Speaker Berri so as to approve some laws related to food safety,” Abou Faour clarified, uttering relief and confidence in the judicial proceedings and arrests taken in the framework of the food safety campaign.

Later on, Minister Rifi spoke and welcomed the step of allowing the Lebanese judiciary to be part of the food safety project launched by the Minister of Public Health. He stressed that “the Ministry of Justice is following-up closely on all the Ministry of Health’s efforts.”

Rifi tackled the applicable consumer protection law, and explained that “the opinion was consistent with Abu Faour that sanctions contained therein are not sufficient to be a deterrent commensurate with the crime committed. So, there will be coordination between the two ministries to put forth a draft to amend the Consumer Protection Act so as to raise the ceiling of the sanctions.”

Among the questions asked by journalist was the one about means to move forward with these procedures while the government is blocked.

Minister Abu Faour replied that “the government will return to work and that is not a problem.” He believes “all political parties realize the size of the risks (…) and there is certainly no alternative government project, unless there is a [hidden] scheme to destroy the Lebanese state structure over our heads.”