By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 8 July 2014:
Abdurahman Benyezza, former Oil and Gas Minister under the Abdulrahim Al-Kib government, has been appointed as the new temporary chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).
Libya Herald has seen a copy of Resolution No. (6) of the LIA’s Board of Trustees, headed by Caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni, appointing Benyezza as the new temporary chairman of the LIA as successor to Abdulmajid Breish.
The resolution clearly states that the appointment is temporary and is dated 3 July 2014. It does not give any further details.
Breish had been barred from continuing in his position as Chairman of the LIA by the Political Isolation Law (PIL) Committee.
The PIL was passed in May 2012 and it precludes all Libyans that had held leading positions under the Qaddafi regime from holding leading positions post 17 February 2011 for ten years from the date of the law.
The case of LIA Chairman Breish was received by the PIL Committee on 10 March 2014, and a final decision was made by the PIL Committee in its 8 June 2014 meeting. It was published on its website on 19 June.
It will be recalled that in February 2013, Breish’s predecessor Mohsen Derregia was removed by the then Prime Minister and head of the LIA’s Board of Trustees, Ali Zeidan, and a temporary head, Ali Hibri, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Libya and LIA’s then Board member, was installed while the search begun for a long term replacement.
Early in 2014 Breish took over the post with a long term plan, which he shared with Libya Herald earlier in May, to reform the LIA using leading international firms.
When asked for his reaction to the PIL Committee decision to bar him from office, Breish had told Libya Herald last month that he was “surprised by its decision”.
He had also revealed that he was going to appeal “as a matter of principle” and “on the grounds that the ESDF was not a state entity like the others” and “on the grounds of my constitutional rights as a Libyan national and individual.”
Highly placed sources at the LIA have informed Libya Herald that Breish has been into LIA Tripoli headquarters on more than one occasion this week, meeting with department heads and with his successor Benyezza.
The sources contrast the mood and atmosphere of the removal of Breish with that of his predecessor Mohsen Derregia, who left reluctantly after a drawn out battle with the then head of the Board of Trustees and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
The LIA source said Breish was keen to help in a smooth and professional handover process, and was keen to bring staff and department heads up to speed with all the vital matters, especially those of a sensitive nature such as the LIA’s ongoing outstanding litigation claims with Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, so that nothing is overlooked as a result of his removal from the post of chairman.
It is not clear why Benyezza was appointed on a temporary basis, and whether he is simply a stop gap appointment until the Political Isolation Committee rules on Breish’s appeal, or whether Benyezza is not interested in the job on a permanent basis, or whether the LIA Board of Trustees want more time to appoint a permanent replacement.
Some have speculated that the LIA Board of Trustees might be leaving the door open for a Breish return to the post of Chairman if he is to succeed in appealing the PIL decision. [/restrict]