World News

Libyan civil registry rebuffs allegations of ID fraud

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s Civil Registry Authority (CRA) dismissed on Monday allegations of widespread fraud in the national identity card system as an attempt to foster division and “distort” the authority’s work.

Libya slid into turmoil after a NATO-backed uprising that ended more than four decades of rule by Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Myriad armed groups and rival governments have since jostled for power, and lawlessness has been widespread.

The CRA issued the statement after Mahmoud Jibril, head of one of Libya’s main political coalitions, told Reuters there had been widespread tampering with national identity cards that led to fraudulent allowance payments and jeopardized national elections planned for the end of the year.

Jibril, citing sources in the CRA and payments made by the central bank, has said the fake IDs appear to number in the hundreds of thousands, and may exceed one million.

A statement posted by CRA chief Mohamed Bettamer said such allegations were aimed “at disturbing the atmosphere and increasing tension and division ... The authority points out that talk of rigging national numbers by millions is incorrect”.

Those with evidence of fraud should present it to the competent authorities, the statement added.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich