Libya's new government vowed on Thursday to investigate "every penny" of suspicious oil contracts signed under the former regime, responsible for what it described as "unbelievable" corruption.
"Any corruption under the previous regime will be investigated... There will be specialised committees that will look into all these contracts and agreements starting with the oil sector," the National Transitional Council (NTC)'s oil and finance minister Ali Tarhuni told a news conference in Tripoli.
He did not give details of specific contracts or companies under suspicion and said that, due to the ongoing conflict, the investigation had yet to begin.
Tarhuni said the government would publish details of past contracts at the end of next week, and promised to turn a leaf on the practices of Moammer al-Kadhafi's regime.
"There was an unbelievable amount of corruption. What the size of this corruption was is the question. We will investigate every penny openly and transparently," the minister insisted, adding that the interests of the Libyan people would be paramount in future contractual negotiations.
The oil-rich north African country's formerly pariah status drove many international oil companies out in the 1980s, but they flooded back in after UN sanctions were lifted in 2003 as part of Kadhafi's rapprochement with the West.
Tarhuni said on Wednesday that Libya would not award any further oil contracts until an elected government had been formed.
Punitive economic sanctions were reimposed in February and March, when Kadhafi launched a violent crackdown on pro-democracy activists.
Tripoli hopes to raise the country's oil production, which collapsed after the February uprising, from current levels of about 400,000 barrels per day to pre-conflict levels of around 1.7 million bpd by the end of 2012.