The legal case challenging the validity of Farhat Bengdara’s appointment as Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) is moving forward.
During a hearing held yesterday, Monday, 8 January, the Third Administrative Division of the Tripoli Court of Appeal announced that it will issue an urgent ruling on 22 January.
The urgent ruling will be on the question of whether the implementation of the decision of the NOC Chairman that is being challenged by the plaintiff in the case should be temporarily suspended until the Court of Appeal is able to decide whether Mr. Bengdara is ineligible to serve as NOC Chairman on the grounds of his alleged dual citizenship (the UAE).
The preliminary question that the Tripoli Court of Appeal will decide is whether to follow the same procedure that was applied by the Al-Beida Court of Appeal in the Ali Tarhouni case in 2016, when Mr. Tarhouni was ultimately removed from the Constitution Committee on the grounds that he was a U.S. citizen.
If the Tripoli Court of Appeal ends up issuing such an injunction to suspend the effectiveness of the NOC Chairman’s decision in this case, the practical effect of this ruling will be to paralyze the activities of the NOC more broadly until the case can be finally resolved on the merits, which would likely cause significant turmoil in the Libyan oil and gas industry during the coming months.
It will be recalled that during local media appearances Bengdara has denied that he holds any other citizenships.
Libya Herald reached out today to the NOC for comment on the above, but it had failed to comment by the time of publication.