As Arab dictators in the Middle East are falling one by one like dominoes, it is just mind boggling to see the billions they had tucked away for all these decades. Hosni Mubarak resigned with $70 billion in US and European banks, not including his bank accounts in other countries or real estate. Former Tunisian President Ben Ali had had approximately $40 billion in just one of many accounts.
As I watched the amount of cash and high end jewelry being recovered from Former President Ben Ali’s home, I felt like I was watching an episode of MTV’s Cribs to the 1,000,000th power. As for Gaddafi, the US froze $30 billion of his wealth, the United Kingdom froze $19 billion, Austria $1.2 billion, and Germany around $2 million for one of his sons.
It’s not like any of these guys started Microsoft, Apple or Google to justify their accumulated wealth. These so-called leaders were supposed to be the ones to maintain peace and justice and rid their countries of corruption.
Didn’t these leaders feel one billion was enough for their families? Why tens of billions if not hundreds? Were they competing in who gathers most? Did they discuss these things in the Arab summits? Why didn’t anyone of them trust his country to invest all this wealth in? Wealth in general benefits the place where it is invested, so Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya never benefited from that wealth. Actually, such countries were literally looted to the bare minimum.
And just think if these scum bags had decided to pay Zakah on what they had stolen: The annual Zakah for Gaddafi’s $130 billion is around $3.25 billion, that is more than enough to wipe out all poverty in Libya.
Mubarak’s Zakah is around $1.75 billion, (more than the US aid to Egypt, which means they could have done without it had Mubarak been paying his Zakah.) Ben Ali’s Zakah is around $1billion. These three together alone have a combined annual Zakah of $6 billion, a huge number enough to feed all the poor in such countries and cover the annual deficit in them as well.
The national debt of these countries is less than the accumulated wealth of the leaders. And as their wealth goes up, the national debt keeps going up as well. It doesn’t take a PhD in economics to know the reason for the national debt in these countries and its continuous increase, simply think of these leaders’ theft as leakage holes in the national treasuries.
As these thieves’ accounts are frozen, it is doubtful the billions will be returned to the countries. Even if it is, the countries still would not be recovering much of this squandered wealth.