By Mohamed Tumi.
Tripoli, 29 May:
On Monday, 2 May, the NTC issued a new law, No. 36 of 2012, concerning the administration . . .[restrict]of funds and properties of certain individuals. This law has created outrage in some quarters and provoked major legal criticism from most lawyers and civil society organizations in Libya. The reasons are listed and analyzed herein.
For me as a lawyer, as well as a civil and political activist, I truly believe that this law should have been issued a long time ago in order to freeze the funds and properties of the Qaddafi family and certain individuals who surrounded them and Qaddafi family members. I believe a large amount of funds were transferred abroad and big properties were sold or registered under different names. In principle, I am not against the issuance of such a law, but I am against the issuance of a law that affects the Libyan economy as well as some good and honest Libyan businessmen who were not involved in corruption or killing Libyans during the uprising. The legal reservations are:
1. The law in Article 1 did not define or nominate the General Administrator, but it was left up to the Prime Minister’s cabinet to appoint him. Until the present, to the best of my knowledge, this General Administrator has not been nominated. This means that all the named public entities 100-percent owned by the Libyan Government, and legal entities partly owned by foreigners (joint ventures) should be administered by the appointed General Administrator. The law also entails the freezing of these legal entities’ funds with all Libyan commercial banks.
2. The NTC legislator did not take into consideration how many Libyans and foreigners work in those entities.
3. These 60 legal entities will not be able to carry on business either locally or abroad.
4. All foreign investors are very disturbed by this law because they consider it confiscation of properties. Consequently, this will not attract new investors or companies wishing to do business in Libya.
5. It would have been much better if the NTC or the Libyan government had decided to appoint a new Board of Directors for the companies and to carry on business normally while conducting an internal investigation (financially and legally) in order to find out any sign of corruption or any connection between those entities and the former regime. In addition it will be necessary to study carefully the history of the business.
6. The law should have indicated the authority of the court and where to appeal against the unfairness and injustice of this law, in case there is any. The lack of this implies that the law was given an absolute immunity against appeal.
7. The law, by attaching the list of persons and legal entities, legally implies that they are considered accused. The law should have set up certain conditions and criteria to whom it is applied rather than simply attaching a list of names.
8. Law Number 36 of 2012 states that all acts regarding the properties of listed individuals or companies are considered null and void since 1 February 2011. For me as a lawyer, this is unfair and unjust. It is a clear violation of the principle of non-retroactivity.
9. Lastly, some individuals indicated in the attached list are accused without evidence. The NTC should have investigated and come up with concrete results before listing those names.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend that the NTC reconsider its position and put this law on the table for discussion. Suspending its application for the time being would be most welcome, at least regarding certain names and companies working in Libya, in order not to make the Libyan economy collapse and become paralyzed because of this law.
Lawyer Mohamed Tumi is now involved in civil and political activities prior to the elections in Libya. He has been a guest on TV shows as a commentator on legal and political issues and can be contacted at [email protected] [/restrict]