By Sami Zaptia.
London, 18 February 2019:
The UK High Court issued a ruling on Thursday 14 February 2019 confirming that the Faiez Serraj-led Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord are the legitimate government of Libya and the executive authority of the country.
The ruling came in court proceedings brought by the Board of Directors of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) in the UK to confirm the legitimacy and legal representation of the LIA.
The UK Court refused all the arguments and objections raised by the opponents to the issue of the recognition and constitutionality of the Government of National Accord, considering these arguements to be unfounded.
The ruling should put the to bed any legal challenge as to whether Faiez Serraj has the authority to appoint any future LIA chairmen, as well as the appointed chairman having the full and exclusive authority to make executive decisions on behalf of the LIA.
It is worth noting that the court case is part of an ongoing struggle between a former LIA chairman, Abdulmagid Breish, and the executive government of Libya.
Libyan law prescribes that the recognised Libyan Prime Minister of the day, as the Chairman of Board of Trustees, oversees the LIA and selects its chairman through its Board of Directors.
Breish was duly appointed as chairman but was later removed by the Political Isolation Law (PIL). The PIL barred all those who had held a top position from holding one after the 2011 revolution.
Upon appeal, Breish’s PIL listing was later reversed, but meanwhile a new chairman was appointed to run the LIA. Based upon his PIL de-listing, Breish has been trying to get his old job back through the courts.
Thursday’s High Court ruling began when Breish was still seeking his old job back, and perversely, he is still today recognised as a litigant opponent – financed by the LIA.
Even more perversely, during last week’s the hearing, Breish sought to have the LIA pay yet more money for his legal fees.
Add to that the fact that Breish faces an arrest warrant by Libya’s Attorney General’s Office for squandering LIA money.
The LIA said that last week’s court ruling will assist it in “ending the continued drain on its resources by parallel institutions and individuals falsely claiming legitimacy to represent the LIA and control its assets and investments”.
It added that “The judgment … is the beginning of an important phase of the legal strategy adopted by the LIA Board of Directors: enhanced auditing and accounting and reform, develop and improve performance in accordance with the comprehensive strategy adopted by the Board.
“This will ensure the stability of the LIA and compliance with the rule of law, transparency and best practices applied globally in managing the investments and assets of the LIA for the benefit of all the Libyan people”.