By Padraig O'Hannelly.
The two contenders to lead the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) have challenged the appointment of steering committee to run the $67-billion sovereign wealth fund.
AbdulMagid Breish, who has been chairing the LIA from Tripoli, and Fawzi Omran Farkash, the newly-appointed Chairman of the Tobruk-based LIA, met on Monday along with Farhat Ben Gdara, a member of the Tobruk LIA board of trustees, and described their discussions as "necessary, cordial and productive."
They said they agreed that the Presidential Council’s purported appointment of a steering committee (through Resolution 115 of 15 August 2016) to manage the LIA was "illegal, and not in the best interests of the sovereign wealth fund or indeed of Libya."
In a joint statement, they also confirmed that the LIA in Tripoli and Tobruk have each initiated actions to contest the resolution through the Libyan judicial system:
"According to the LIA’s founding documents, and in particular Law 13 that governs the LIA, the only body entitled to appoint directors and executive managers of the LIA is the LIA’s Board of Trustees. Additionally Resolution 115 appears to violate the Presidential Council’s own governance requirements.
"The House of Representatives’ vote of no confidence in the GNA last Monday also appears to render Resolution 115, along with the Presidential Council’s other decisions, null and void."
The rival Chairmen also questioned whether the members of the steering committee have the financial, legal and other technical expertise required by Article 10 of Law 13 which governs the LIA.
Mr Ben Gdara, Mr Breish and Mr Farkash also discussed the possibility of merging the two boards of directors of the LIA to establish a single, united board. "Substantial progress was made on this point, and further discussions are expected in the coming days," they said.
(Source: Tobruk LIA, Tripoli LIA)