Courts refuse Tripoli request for control of Libya Post

Tripoli’s case in Malta was aimed at winning back control of Bousval, a holding company based in Luxembourg, through which the LPTIC owns a 14.7% stake in Italian telecoms firm Retelit.

Faisal Gergab
Faisal Gergab

The Maltese courts have thrown out a request by representatives of the Tripoli government to prevent Malta-based managers of the Libyan state telecoms company LPTIC from representing the company.

Back in February, Feisal Gergab set up a Maltese subsidiary of the Libyan Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology Holding Company, under authorisation of the internationally-recognised government in Tobruk.

LPTIC controls Libya’s telecoms operators LTT, Libyana, and Al Madar – at least on paper.

But the Tripoli government-backed Majdi Ashibani insists he is the rightful boss of Libyan Post, and launched legal proceedings against Gergab and his subsidiary LPTIC Services.

Tripoli’s case in Malta was aimed at winning back control of Bousval, a holding company based in Luxembourg, through which the LPTIC owns a 14.7% stake in Italian telecoms firm Retelit.

Ashibani told the courts that Tripoli telecommunications minister Sami Elfantazi appointed him boss of LPTIC and that Gergab has been dismissed.

In its decision, the court said evidence submitted by Ashibani, purporting to be documents authorising his appointment to the LPTIC steering committee, had not been authenticated according to law.

Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff said a photocopy of a letter allegedly from the Libyan Attorney General was also inadmissible.

A crucial witness was Tobruk’s ambassador to Malta, Alhabib Mohammed Alamin, who told the court that Ashibani’s documents had not been issued by the internationally-recognised government of Libya.

Additionally, Malta’s director of protocol and consular services told the court that the Maltese government neither recognized Tripoli’s National Salvation Government nor its representative in Malta, Hussin Musrati.

Libya remains in a state of political turmoil with two separate governments vying for control of territory and state assets. 

In Malta, LPTIC Services is housed in the offices at Oilinvest House in San Gwann, where the Tamoil Africa Holdings and Chempetrol operations are already housed. They are both subsidiaries of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) on whose board Gergab sits.

The ruling came in the same week as Tripoli representative Abdulmagid Breish sought to assert his claim as the chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund which also has registered offices in Malta.

Breish has reportedly visited political leaders, government officials and company directors in Malta prosecuting his claim.

A spokesperson for the LIA told MaltaToday in a statement that Breish’s only proof of his apparent status was a judgement from a court in Tripoli rendered late last month.

“Previously excluded from any role in public office, due to his affiliation with former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Breish suggested that this judgement reinstated him… The Libyan Charge d’Affaires to Malta issued a circular to government ministries, financial institutions and major companies in Malta to inform them of the false claims by Mr Breish.”

In this circular, the Libyan Charge d’Affaires stated on Thursday, 4 June 2015: “Mr Abdulmagid Breish does not represent the LIA or the Libyan Government and has no legal capacity in relation to the LIA or the legitimate Libyan Government and in no way represents them.

“Furthermore the Embassy warns that any company or institution from dealing with said Mr Breish…will face the necessary legal action and liability.”

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