Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to sign the draft decrees to dismiss three public directors, who are under investigation over the Beirut port explosion, without a formal cabinet decision.

File photo : Beirut, Lebanon port after the Aug 4, explosion. 191 killed 6500 Injured after 2,755 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Exploded . They were stored there for nearly 7 years. The shelf life of the product is supposed to be 6 months according to experts . After 6 months it starts solidifying and becomes more explodable

“Pursuant to the provisions of the constitution and the laws in force, the President of the Republic will not sign any of these draft decrees, as long as no decisions regarding them have been issued nominally and individually by the Council of Ministers,” the presidential office said on Monday.

For his part, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), Walid Jumblatt, criticized the stalling in the investigations.

Customs Director General Badri Daher a close ally of president Michel Aoun and his son-in-law Gebran Bassil. Daher has been with the port ever since the 2755 tons of Ammonium Nitrate were confiscated in 2013 and stored in the port . He was reportedly also aware of the looting of some of the chemical . Last November Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim pressed charges of “squandering public funds” against Daher.

“The heroes of the fire brigade and civil defense are left behind. Beirut municipality does not exist. Customs officers and agents with their fancy cars are like crows over a carcass. The army alone is trying to collect the rubble in a ground soaked in burning oils. The silos are full of contaminated wheat and corn, which merchants are trying to steal and sell,” he said in a tweet.

Resigned MP Paula Yacoubian, also criticized the delay in the probe, saying: “Two months have passed since the explosion and the investigations are blown into the unknown. Unfortunately, the result is expected. The mafia does not condemn itself.”

The families of the victims of the fire brigade in the port explosion threatened to escalate their moves in response to the stalling in the probe.

“If our call is not met, we will not be silent. We will not rest until the truth is known… We will not allow corruption to obscure our rights,” a representative of the families of the victims told a news conference on Monday.

“We call for an urgent parliamentary session to lift the immunity of those involved in the case. We want to see the course of the investigation, lift its secrecy, and announce August 4 as a national day of mourning,” she added.

The Judiciary has so far arrested 25 persons in the case, including the Customs Director General Badri Daher, the director of land and maritime transport, Abdel Hafiz Kaissi and the port’s director-general Hassan Koraytem

Asharq Al Awsat.

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