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Libyan Investment Authority Board Challenged

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)


Abdul-Magid Breish, who claims to be the chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), said on Monday that he disapproves the appointment of a panel by the UN-backed Libyan unity government (GNA).

Breish said that because he was not officially told to resign, he will not accept the appointment of the panel.

The GNA announced last week the that an appointed panel of five members will be caretakers of the LIA. The US government along with five European governments endorsed the announcement with a joint statement supporting the GNA’s decision.

The GNA came was formed to resolve tensions across Libya after various militias fought to gain control over key institutions in Tripoli in 2014, forcing the elected parliament to move to the east.

It’s purpose was to unify institutions, like the LIA, Libya’s central bank and the National Oil Corporation, in hopes that it will bring national unity. However, the GNA’s rivals continue to challenge the GNA’s authority. The recent vote by the eastern parliament on Monday, which decided the parliament will not back the GNA, further challenged the authority of the GNA.

The LIA’s rival leadership reflects the same struggle Libya has had to endure with two rival governmental authorities, the GNA in the West and the House of Representatives (HoR) in the east.

In the case of the LIA Breish was one of two men who claimed the position of chairman for the LIA. In June 2013, Breish was appointed chairman, but had to step down for a year when he was under investigation. Breish claims he was then reinstated by the order of the Libyan Court of Appeal.

Hassan Bouhadi, Breish’s rival in the eastern part of Libya, was appointed to the position of chairman by the HoR. Bouhadi recently resigned after he said the political tension was enabling him to fulfil his responsibilities.

The HoR replaced Bouhadi with Ali Shamekh as the chief executive officer of the LIA.

On Monday, Breish released a statement which raised allegations that the GNA might have broken the law by appointing a panel to take care of the LIA and even challenged the credentials of the panel.

In the statement, Breish said he was not officially notified to hand over to the panel his responsibility and authority over the LIA. Breish said that he would submit an application to the Libyan courts clarifying the change once he has received the official notice.

“While I accept and share the Government of National Accord’s desire to unify the Libyan Investment Authority, it is my responsibility as chairman and CEO to ensure that it is done in compliance with Libyan law, that the technical expertise is in place to manage the institution and its funds, and that multi-million dollar litigations that we are pursuing in overseas courts are not adversely affected,” said Breish.

“I am therefore seeking an expedited court ruling to clarify the current legal position.”

The LIA is involved in two ongoing lawsuits against two investment banks, the US based Goldman Sachs and the French Societe Generale, seeking to get back $3 billion that was lost in deals that went bad when Gaddafi was in power.

Breish also mentioned that he is in communication with the trustee’s appointed by the HoR with the intention of unifying the board of directors. An official meeting has been scheduled early next week, said Breish’s statement.

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