Published on 21 May 2014

Auditing banks no piece of cake

Auditing banks no piece of cake

According to the IMF, at least $1.17 billion will be needed to mop up the debts weighing on Tunisia's three big state-owned banks: Societe Tunisienne de Banque (STB), the Banque de l'Habitat (BH) and Banque Nationale Agricole (BNA). Looted relentlessly by cronies of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and carrying the bulk of the tourism industry's debts, the establishments could trigger a systemic crisis if they collapse. Successive governments have been advocating a complete audit of their books since 2012 as a first step towards their recovery. And the IMF, World Bank and European Union are clamouring for that as well. But the process has ground to a virtual halt. Many officials handling the matter were on post during Ben Ali's rule and have no interest in opening Pandora's box.

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