Statement from LAP GreenN in relation to legal proceedings in Zambia
Monday 23rd April, Lusaka
LAP GreenN, the Libyan Investment Authority’s international telecommunications arm and a major foreign investor in Zambia, is disturbed by the decision last week in the Zambian High Court to not grant interim protection for its seized assets, which were legitimately purchased at a cost of US$257m and which now have a market-value of approximately US$480m.
LAP GreenN has decided for valid reasons not to appeal this decision, but to address the issue in its case against the government, which is scheduled in the Zambian High Court on July 9th 2012.
Mr Wafik Al-Shater, Chairman and CEO of LAP GreenN said: “We are surprised and disappointed at the press reports in Zambia which have wrongly indicated that our ‘claim’ has been rejected, as this was a preliminary precaution in which we sought the court’s support and cooperation to protect our property until the case is heard on July 9th.
“Our case will underline how unacceptable and disturbing we feel it is on many levels, that one of the largest investors in this country can be physically removed from its own company, and have its assets summarily taken away with no market-value compensation being offered as is required by law. We are aware that the international investment community and ratings agencies will be watching the outcome of this case very closely, and some, such as Fitch who last month downgraded Zambia’s credit-rating from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ as a direct result of this case, have already made their views clear.
“It is for these reasons, and so as to expedite the justice which we sincerely hope and expect will not only deliver redress to us, but which we also hope will restore faith to other foreign companies or institutions who are thinking of investing in Zambia, that we are not appealing the recent ‘freeze’ over our shares.
“These assets which we insist are returned, form part of an international investment fund which is wholly owned by, and acts on behalf of, the people of Libya, and as such we will be pursuing this matter until we receive the return of, or market-value compensation for these assets, be that in the Zambian courts or in the international courts or other bodies which our legal teams have investigated as being alternative options for redress and full compensation.”
LAP GreenN is currently challenging the legality of the Zambian Government’s seizure of LAP GreenN’s shares in Zamtel. LAP GreenN filed a constitutional petition to this effect last month.
The Zambian High Court will hear LAP Green’s petition for restitution on 9 July 2012. In this petition LAP GreenN requests that its 75% shareholding in Zamtel is returned to it. If the shares are not returned, LAP GreenN will seek compensation in the amount of US$480m, the market value of the shares at the time the Zambian Government seized them.