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LAP GreenN fights Zambia for Zamtel stake
20 March 2012
Libya’s LAP GreenN sues Zambian government claiming $480m for seizure of stake in operator Zamtel
The Libyan Investment Authority’s telecommunications unit LAP Green Network is suing the Zambian government over the seizure of a 75% stake in Zambian fixed-line operator Zamtel.
LAP GreenN, a Gaddafi-era business with investments in a number of African operations, has filed a petition before the Zambian high court. The company has rejected the Zambian government’s claim that the stake was taken for “public purposes”, and is suing the government for $480 million.
Wafik Al-Shater, chairman of LAP GreenN, told the Zambian Watchdog: “LAP GreenN is very clear that the seizure of our shareholding in Zamtel by the Zambian government was illegal and unconstitutional, and to the detriment of both Zamtel and its customers.”
LAP GreenN claims it revived the bankrupt operator by enhancing and upgrading infrastructure and systems, which facilitated improved network performance and superior customer service.
Al-Shater said: “In the 18 months that Zamtel was under LAP GreenN’s management, we increased its total subscriber base by 600% — to over one million at the start of 2012 — and significantly increased the company’s market share, leading to a 50% increase in revenues. The growth and prosperity that Zamtel saw under our management was unprecedented.”
Zambia’s previous government sold a majority stake in Zamtel in 2010 for $257 million to LAP GreenN, when Muammar Gaddafi still ruled Libya. However, an enquiry by the next elected government held that the stake was sold fraudulently, and the deal was reversed. The government seized control of Zamtel in January 2012.
LAP GreenN says if the stake is not restored it will seek financial compensation of the asset’s value at the time of seizure, $480 million, plus dditional claims on account of the losses arising due to the seizure.
Al-Shater told the Zambian Watchdog: “We are compelled to take this course of action as dictated by the procedure set out in Zambian law. To recover the company’s significant investment in Zamtel, LAP GreenN will consider any and all legal options available, if necessary, whether in Zambia or in other jurisdictions.” GTB
Further reading from Global Telecoms Business:
Etisalat looks at Libyan operators 14 Feb 2012
Zambia aims to regain control of Zamtel 25 Jan 2012
Libya 'interested in buying Rwandatel' 09 Jan 2012
Rwandatel loses mobile licence 06 Apr 2011
LAP Green acquires Chad stake 02 Nov 2010