By Natalie Bannerman

The Zambian government has been ordered to pay $380 million to the Libyan Investment Authority over the nationalisation of Zamtel.

The London High Courts, have ordered Zambia to pay Libya $380 million as compensation for nationalising Zamtel.

The trouble began when the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) took the Zambian government to court over its abrupt reversal of the sale of Zamtel without compensation.

At the time LIA owned a 75% stake in Zamtel, while the Zambian government owned the remaining 25%.

The LIA is reportedly pursuing similar action against Chad, Rwanda and Niger, according to the London Financial Times.

“Those four countries took advantage of Libya’s political turmoil to nationalize assets belonging to the country’s $66 billion sovereign funds,” said the LIA in its report.

At the start of 2011, LAP Green Networks, a subsidiary of LIA, held stakes in nine telecoms operators across sub-Saharan Africa, including: Chad’s Sotel Tchad, Oricel in Côte d’Ivoire and Gemtel Telecom in South Sudan.

LAP Green Networks is challenging the government’s actions in court and is asking for £480 million.

The London Financial Times quoted Hassan Bouhadi, chairman of the LIA as saying “The LIA is determined to regain what was squandered from the Libyan people.”

Back in September, the Zambian government licensed a fourth mobile operator for operation in the region creating increased competition for the existing three telcos Airtel, MTN and Zamtel.

According to reports, the new licence will be issued under a revised procedure that the government introduced in June with the aim of opening up the telecoms market.



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