The Chairman of Tripoli-based the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), AbdulMagid Breish, has confirmed that the recent press release issued in the past few days by Ali Hassan Mahmoud - the Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the LIA appointed by the UN-installed Presidency Council - is full of inconsistencies and a major failure to adhere to best-practice reporting of financial results.
In a statement on Saturday, Breish stated that what is mentioned in the Ali Mahmoud’s release is the return of certain investments of US$219 million and interest earned on certain deposits of US$112 million, however; the press release doesn't indicate whether those amounts are realised income or based on revaluation of held investments, whether revenue streams are of a certain department or whether these revenues are the total returns on all of LIA’s portfolios and assets.
"It does not even identify what were these investments. For example, was it from the equity portfolio or from hedge funds or private equity, or from subsidiaries? Also, there is no indication whether the accounts have been audited or not." Breish explained.
He added that “it is a great shame that people who lack the sophistication of financial reporting make such remarks on behalf of what is the sovereign Fund for Libya’s future generations.”
"I as the Chairman of LIA state that the accounts of LIA for 2016 were not audited due to the political situation in the country and the non-availability the full team of our external accountants." Breish indicated.
He also stated that despite this, there are management accounts, and in due course, he will be presenting a true picture of LIA’s overall performance during 2016.
"I am also proud to state that for 2017 we have already received a repayment of US$ 1 billion from Societe Generale under an out of court confidential settlement agreement. This was the result of hard work during the past 3 years of my team and LIA’s external legal advisors." The LIA Chairman added.
He indicated that the LIA is also pursuing other international litigations in conjunction with Libya’s Attorney General, saying that he hopes those procedures will return some if not most of the corrupt investments made by LIA’s previous management between 2007-2011.
"I'm not sure in what capacity is Mr. Mahmoud speaking as he has been recently deemed on 2.1.2017 by the Tripoli Administrative Court to have no legal status under LIA's Law13, which governs the structure and corporate management of LIA. The Court ruled that his claim to the chairmanship and his appointment by the Presidential Council & GNA through its resolution No. 115 of August 2016 was deemed illegal and was frozen by the court." Breish explained.
He also said that two weeks ago, the Presidential Council & GNA’s appeal to reverse the Tripoli Court ruling on resolution No. 115 was also rejected by the Supreme Court, adding that this indicates that the Law has spoken and stated that the Presidential Council & GNA has no legal status to interfere in the decisions or appointments concerning LIA.
"I am aware that similar other court rulings were recently issued against the Presidential Council & GNA in regards to other Libyan state institutions." He added.
"Law No. 13 regulates the organisation of LIA and states that LIA’s ultimate authority which appoints the Board is its Board of Trustees. The Board of trustees is composed of the Prime Minister, and the Ministers of Finance, Economy, Planning, the Central Bank Governor, and two independent financial specialists. However, the Presidential Council & GNA is only a Presidential Council with specific functions. It is not an approved government of national accord as it has not yet received formal recognition by Parliament and as such cannot under Law No 13 set up a Board of Trustees. The Presidential Council may attempt to set up such a Board but this will be attacked in the courts and seen as yet another attempt by the Presidential Council to illegally circumvent and disregard the judiciary and the laws of the land. The attempt to establish a `board of Trustees illegally is an extremely serious offence and provocation of the judiciary and the regulatory authorities in Libya. This would be a blatant abuse of power on the part of the Presidential Council punishable by law. A case in point is the recent impeachment and imprisonment of South Korea’s President because of abuse of power serving special interest groups against the interest of the country and its citizens." Breish elaborated.
He also slammed the Presidential Council as ineffective saying that since they have entered, they have not solved any of the daily problems faced by the Libyan citizen, such as the issue of bank liquidity, inflation and high consumer prices, the black currency market and the loss of value in the Libyan Dinar, the lack of law and order and the protection of citizens and property, medical services, infrastructure, water electricity and the basic daily needs of the citizen.
“Instead the Presidential Council have wasted valuable time in mismanaging the economy and the country and sought to force illegally and interfere in vital state institutions such as LIA, NOC, CBL, LPTIC GECOL instead of keeping them out of political infighting. All this is not in the interest of Libya or its citizens." The LIA Chairman said.
"I strongly request that the regulatory authorities in Libya intervene to stop the Presidential Council from exercising this blatant abuse of executive power and assuming functions and responsibilities that it does not possess, knowing that the country's courts have stated so several times during the past one year.
I call on the parliament, the High State Council, the Supreme Judiciary Council, the Attorney General, the Administrative Control Authority, and the Audit Bureau to act to preserve the law, its courts and its court rulings." Breish concluded.