The Lebanese Observatory for Corruption on Tuesday revealed that the so-called Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) is acting as a governmental organization and, therefore, drawing millions of dollars without being subject to any legal supervision or taxation.
On its official website, the center introduces itself as the national energy agency for Lebanon and a governmental organization affiliated to the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water.
"LCEC is the technical arm of the Ministry in all subjects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green buildings. It is the leading provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to the public and private sectors in Lebanon," noted the About Us section on the center's website.
The center also claims that it offers proven expertise and support to the Government of Lebanon to develop and implement national strategies towards saving energy, saving money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions with the final target being to improve durability, safety and comfort of the Lebanese population.
In 2013, the Ministry of Energy and Water started providing financial support to the LCEC which also obtains European Union funds through a contract signed with the Central Bank of Lebanon.
According to the Observatory's report, LCEC has been managing a program through which the Central Bank provides loans and grants to support energy-related projects; an estimated amount of $464 million has been so far disbursed under the Center's supervision.
The Center has also been commissioned by the Central Bank to provide consultancy services for the selection of projects applying for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program for a four-year-long period (2016-2020), with an estimated funding of between 600 and 900 million dollars,” the Observatory added.
The Ministry of Energy and Water grants LCEC an annual funding of LBP 300 million ($200,000) as part of a LBP 15 billion-worth contract ($10 million) to build a headquarter for the LCEC on a state-owned plot of land.
The Observatory pointed out that the LCEC does not register its employees either at the Ministry of Labor or at the Social Security Fund.