Read time: 3 minutes

Zamtel, Lap Green Networks saga deepens

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 30 Jul 2015

Zamtel, Lap Green Networks saga deepens

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) has launched legal action against Zambia over the alleged nationalisation of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel).

The Authority will reportedly pursue 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. .

"The LIA is determined to regain what was squandered from the Libyan people," Bouhadi told the paper.

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.

And 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 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.

Under pressure from opposition lawmakers, the Zambian government through the vice President Inonge Wina, has now said it will this week issue a statement as to when the report on the sale of Zamtel to Lap Green Networks will be released and the way forward.

The Zambian government has refused to comment on the court case for fear of subjudice.

"I will issue a statement in Parliament as to when the government will release the findings on the sale of Zamtel," Wina said.

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.

Daily newsletter