Friday, September 24, 2010

How many Nahass's does it take to make a phone call?

Here is how our tax Liras are at work:

Lebanon is participating in the International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadelajara, Mexico next month.  Wonderful!

Glancing at the list of participants, I found the following numbers for official (government) delegates instructive:

Finland, home of Nokia: 8
Kuwait, home of Zain (MTC): 6
Germany, Europe's largest economy: 8
Egypt, the Middle East's most populous country: 7
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's largest economy: 10

Lebanon: 12

Ah, but I wish that's all that is odd about the list! Here are four names from the Lebanese delegates list:

Anyone notice a pattern here?  According to his Facebook "fan" page (he has 432 fans), Magida must be his wife. I hear that Zeina is his daughter. I have no clue who is Yousra, but let us give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she is a telecom prodigy.   Now it is fine if the Minister is taking the family for a trip to Mexico at his own expense. But is our government actually paying for these "official delegates"?  I did not go carefully through the names of every single delegation, but from what I did see, no other Minister has his wife registered as a delegate.  

For those of you that don't speak Arabic, our Telecommunication Minister's name (Nahass) actually means Coppersmith. I cannot help but wonder when we will be upgrading those old copper wires to some fibre optics.

UPDATE: Please click on comments section to view remarks from someone who may be connected to the Minister, and my follow-up comments.

UPDATE 2: If you came here through a direct link, please read this: Questions to Minister Nahass


  1. Yousra is his daughter too - she was with me at school...


  2. Dear Ousama, before falling into biased interpretations, you might wish to verify the accuracy of your statements, by checking with the travel agent 03688038 that the 3 additional trips' expenses were paid for from the minister's personal account. For the sake of your blog's credibility, nothing more!

  3. Or with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for that matter

  4. @notedconnection: Thanks for the confirmation it is his daughter

    @mayassa: I am simply asking a question whether our government is paying or not. Thank you for confirming it is not. I am relieved.

    You seem to be connected to him, since you have the travel agent's phone number. I am not going to call. I will trust you. (I am not a Lebanese politician, so I will not assume that the number you gave is for a False Witness;)).

    This of course does not answer the question why the family is registered as official delegates. There is a special option for registering spouses. Why was this not used? Why are the daughters delegates? This just makes the country look bad, especially since no other minister is doing so.

  5. @Mayasa: I strongly suggest that the Minister remove the registration of his family ASAP, and register his wife as a Spouse not as "Ministry of Telecom". Other delegates are not going to be reading this blog, and I am sure he does not want other people to assume that our government is paying for a family vacation.

  6. @Mayasa: i think that with the level of corruption in Lebanon, it is highly likely that the money in the minister's private account is also ours.

    I guess it's just a matter of formality. Transfering the money from the Government to his personal account and using it as if it's his.

    Also, I don't think the minister's mind would be highly focused on the conference, instead he'd be thinking abou the "free" family holiday he gets in Mexico.

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  8. Minister Nahas to Oussama Hayek on September 27, 2010: Dear Oussama, if you want to pursue your oversight function till the end, check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to verify the private origin of funds. As for the inclusion of family members on the official delegates list, it is due to a secretarial error, and is being corrected. Please keep us posted.

    Post by Oussama Hayek on September 27, 2010: Update Regarding Minister Nahass's participation in ITU Conference. This is to follow up from my two postings on Minister Nahass's participation in the ITU Conference in Mexico next month. I am happy to say that Minister Nahass has now informed the ITU to amend the Lebanese delegate list, and remove the names of his family members.