Lon­don High Court Or­ders Zam­bia to Pay Lap Green of Libya $380Mil­lion Com­pen­sa­tion for Na­tion­al­iza­tion of ZAMTEL

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE LON­DON High Court has or­dered that Zam­bia com­pen­sates $380mil­lion for nationalisation of Zam­bia Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­pany. This was a deal in which Lap Green deal on pur­chase of Zamtel was abruptly re­versed with­out com­pen­sa­tion. The Libyan In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity (LIA) launched le­gal ac­tion against Zam­bia over the al­leged nationalisation of the Zam­bia Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­pany ( Zamtel). The Au­thor­ity re­port­edly pur­sued sim­i­lar ac­tion against Chad, Rwanda and Niger, ac­cord­ing to Fi­nan­cial Times of Lon­don.

In the re­port the LIA claims that the four coun­tries took ad­van­tage of "Libya's po­lit­i­cal tur­moil to na­tion­alise as­sets be­long­ing to the coun­try's $66 bil­lion sov­er­eign funds."

Has­san Bouhadi, chair­man of the LIA, is quoted as say­ing the le­gal ac­tion re­lated to tech­nol­ogy as­sets in the four coun­tries named.

Zam­bia’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter told law mak­ers in Lusaka by high court to com­pen­sate LAP Green for seiz­ing Zamtel from the Libyan sov­er­eign fund in 2012. He how­ever Mu­tati didn’t give de­tails over which court made the or­der nor pay­ment time­line.

"The LIA is de­ter­mined to re­gain what was squan­dered from the Libyan peo­ple," Bouhadi said a few months ago.

In 2012 Lap Green Net­works was forced to han­dover Zamtel to the new Zam­bian govern­ment over allegations that the com­pany was du­bi­ously and cor­ruptly sold to the Libyans.

The com­pany was sold in 2010 by the pre­vi­ous Zam­bian govern­ment for US$394 mil­lion on grounds that it had failed to re­cap­i­talise the busi­ness.

Lap Green Net­works de­nied any wrong­do­ing in the man­ner it ac­quired the com­pany and said it would chal­lenge the coun­try's au­thor­i­ties in the courts of law. Al­most three years ago, a Zam­bian High Court al­lowed Lap Green Net­works to take the mat­ter to the Lon­don Court as it was con­sid­ered neu­tral ground af­ter the Libyan com­pany ex­pressed con­cern that it would not be given a fair hear­ing in Zam­bia.

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle on itwe­bafrica, for over three years, the Zam­bian govern­ment has failed to make pub­lic a re­port by the Com­mis­sion of in­quiry into the sale of Zamtel.

In 2012, the then Zam­bian Pres­i­dent Michael Sata – MHSRIP- con­sti­tuted a com­mis­sion of in­quiry to in­ves­ti­gate how Zamtel was sold to the Libyans. Al­though the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry handed over the re­port to the Zam­bian govern­ment soon there­after, the re­port has not been made pub­lic.

The Zam­bian govern­ment has re­peat­edly said it can only com­pen­sate Lap Green Net­works for its in­vest­ment in Zamtel, but that it will never sur­ren­der back the com­pany to the Libyans.

In De­cem­ber last year, the Zam­bian govern­ment agreed to re­pay the US$103 mil­lion loan that Lap Green Net­works ob­tained from China's ZTE in 2011 for the ex­pan­sion of Zamtel net­work.

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