By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 July 2016:
Ali Gatrani, boycotting member of the Faiez Serraj-led Presidency Council (PC), but also the head of the House of Representatives’ Economy Committee, has called upon the HoR-recognized chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), Hassan Bouhadi, to continue to recognize the authority of the HoR.
In a recently publicized letter from Gatrani dated 4th July, Gatrani called upon Bouhadi to continue to accept the authority of the HoR-recognized LIA Board of Trustees and to respond to calls for an LIA Board of Directors’ meeting.
Gatrani reminded Bouhadi that it is the LIA Board of Trustees headed by the Prime Minister of the day that appoints the LIA Board of Directors and hence the LIA chairman.
Gatrani indicates that the PC had previously sent a number of letters of instruction to Bouhadi which Bouhadi is using as an excuse for not calling for an LIA Board Meeting. Gatrani says that Bouhadi is still obliged to continue recognizing the current Board of Trustees appointed by the HoR and Abdullah Thinni.
Gatrani warned Bouhadi that he would be liable for losses to the LIA as a result of Bouhadi’s deliberate failure to hold a board meeting. The implication is that Bouhadi is taking instructions from the Faiez Serraj Presidency Council. Gatrani says that Bouhadi must wait for the HoR to vote on the Government of National Accord before accepting insructions from the Presidency Council.
Meanwhile, the Media Department of the Bouhadi-led LIA would not be drawn into the complex topic, but told Libya Herald “The Libyan Investment Authority’s Chairman and Board of Directors have been engaging with all stakeholders including the Presidential Council and have been leading all of the LIA operations inside and outside of Libya according to Law 13 which stipulates the governance structure of the LIA.
Our ambition is to continue to protect, preserve and safeguard the country’s assets, the vast majority of which are held outside Libya.”, the statement ended.
It will be recalled that the much disputed Article 8 of the UN-backed Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat Morocco in December 2015 stipulates that all the leading sovereign positions including the armed forces commander in chief (Khalifa Hafter), the Governors of the Central Bank of Libya (El Kabber and Ali Hibri) and the heads of the LIA (Breish and Bouhadi) all revert to the PC.
The international community, backed by a UN resolution recognizes the GNA as the sole executive power in Libya while still recognizing the HoR as the sole legislative power in Libya. The HoR recognizes the LPA and its PC in principle but has failed to approve the GNA.
The LIA’s Board of Trustees is by law headed by the Prime Minister of the day, which the international community considers to be Faiez Serraj. The HoR, however, still recognizes Abdullah Thinni as the Prime Minister of Libya and therefore the head of the LIA’s Board of Trustees.
Meanwhile, the outgoing GNC and Salvation Government recognized Abdulmajid Breish as the chairman of the LIA and the issue of who is the legitimate chairman of the LIA is before High Court in London. The LIA is also involved in a High Court cases with Goldman Sachs and Societe General.
The Gatrani letter also brings out into the open the split within the PC. Gatrani who hails from the east, has walked out of the Presidency Council three times, first in January and most recently in March, principally in disagreement over the control of the military. Seen as an ally of Libyan armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter, Gatrani has since claimed that the GNA, including Faiez Serraj, are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.