Beirut: The Lebanese Cabinet on Wednesday dismissed Abdel-Moneim Youssef, the Director-General of the parastatal telecommunications company OGERO, and appointed two successors: Imad Kreidieh to lead the OGERO telecom authority, and Bassel Al Ayyoubi as director-general of investment and maintenance at the telecom ministry.
Youssef, who occupied both posts simultaneously, is on trial for corruption and negligence, which deprived the state of sorely needed funds. In January 2016, the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) filed several complaints against him, mostly concerning payments he had received from the ministry, which raised doubts over his capability to run the income-generating company.
The trial, which was postponed sine-die to allow more time for investigation, focused on a number of unlicensed internet networks that were found across the country. Former Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb had claimed that Israel was using the illegal networks to spy on Lebanon, though Youssef himself denied the accusations on several occasions, calling them politically motivated.
Unlike Youssef, Imad Kreidieh, 56, is known for his vast expertise in the telecom sector. A US-educated economist, Kreidieh worked for several telecommunications companies in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan.
Kreidieh joined the family business in Saudi Arabia in 1985, before moving back to Beirut in 1991, to work for the Saudi Lebanese Bank. In 2001, he joined SyriaTel where he served as Deputy Managing Director and, in 2006, was appointed CEO of MTN Sudan, where he managed the company for three years. Since 2008, Kreidieh held the position of Group COO at AWI Company, one of the leading press-media groups in the Middle East.
Bassel Al Ayyoubi worked for SpaceTel Yemen as a manager, before he joined the Siemens Group in 2006, first as a senior project manager, and later as head of the care business for Nokio-Siemens before he was promoted as Sales Engagement Manager for the entire Middle East.
In 2016, a parliamentary media committee alleged that OGERO was in the hands of a political “mafia” and the PSP leader Walid Jumblatt accused former prime minister Fuad Siniora of collusion with Youssef.