Lebanese officials offered a cut of the country’s coronavirus vaccine doses to the World Bank, hoping to dissuade the global body from blocking financial aid over allegations of corruption and nepotism in vaccinations.
Lebanon’s government has said it only prioritized political elites in the vaccination campaign in order to combat sectarianism and xenophobia, by withholding vaccines from citizens of all faiths and refugees equally.
The nation’s chieftains hope the offer can persuade World Bank officials to bend their rules a little, especially since any cuts in funding could have dire consequences on various branches of the Lebanese economy that are focused on embezzlement and corruption.
President Michel Aoun vowed the World Bank would emerge satisfied with the terms of any deal.
“We will not interfere with how you sell or distribute the doses, and we are even happy to vaccinate your current and retired employees for free as an incentive,” Aoun said in a press conference. “They are not less important than the Lebanese MPs who were prioritized ahead of doctors and nurses.”
Aoun said Lebanese leaders owed a lot to the World Bank because loans, economic reforms and privatization introduced new and creative avenues for expanding their personal wealth.
Aoun also pledged to form a probe that would investigate his alleged mishandling of the vaccine roll-out, promising that the results of the investigation would seek to satisfy all the defendants in the case.