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Libya's LapGreen Networks seeks global intervention on Zamtel matter

Libya's LapGreen Networks seeks global intervention on Zamtel matter

Libya's LapGreen Networks has engaged the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Southern African Development Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), among others, over what it alleges is the Zambian government's failure to settle a balance of US$220 million compensation following the repossession of Zamtel in 2012.

The company has also copied rating agencies on the correspondence, including Fitch Rating Agency, S & P Global Ratings and Moody's Investor Services.

The Libyan company said it would pursue every possible avenue to collect the money from the Zambian government which is understood to be outstanding for over two years following court battles.

Chairman of the Libyan Post, Telecommunication & IT Holding Company Dr. Faisel Gergab said, "We believe that it's appropriate for international investors, lenders and rating agencies be appraised of our very real concerns that there would appear to be fundamental breakdown of prudent financial governance within the Ministry of Finance and the office of the Attorney General. Furthermore, the default adversely affects aspects of constitutionalism and the democratic credentials of Zambia."

Gergab said default interest on the total amount due is accruing and currently exceeds US$15 million.

The Zambian Minister of Communications and Transport Brian Mushimba declined ITWeb Africa's request for a comment on the matter.

However, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka was quoted by the local Mast Newspaper as saying the matter was being handled by Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa.

In 2012, Zambia's current administration forcibly took over Zamtel's operations from LapGreen Networks claiming that the 75% shares the company owned were corruptly sold by the previous administration.

LapGreen Networks denied any wrong-doing in the manner it acquired the company and subsequently took the matter to the Zambian High Court where the government failed to defend its decision to repossess the company.

Instead, officials decided to enter a consent judgement to compensate LapGreen Networks on its initial investment in Zamtel of US$252 million plus interest, calculated at 8%, and other charges.

According to the settlement agreement, the government was supposed to make an initial payment of US$114 million in November 2016, followed by biannual payments of US$35 million in February 2017 and August 2017 respectively.

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