LIBYAPROSPECT – Tripoli
The Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) issued a decision last Monday, to form a temporary steering committee to run Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), headed by Ali Mahmood Hasan Mohamed, with Abdulaziz Khaled Ali, Al-Hadi Najm El-Din Ka’abar, Khaled Khalifa Hussein Al-Taher and Ahmad Abdullah Ammar as members. The committee enjoys the powers of the board and executive director to maintain a functioning company.
The PC arrived at this decision the day after the governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) in AL-Baida, Ali Al-Hibri, resigned from his position on the board of trustees of the foundation, and three days after the resignation of former head, Hasan Bu Hadi. These developments came after many discussions regarding the organization and its importance to the Libyan economy, especially in light of the country’s divided nature, which affected most of the nation’s institutions.
In the context of the ongoing developments, Al-Wasat Website interviewed Al-Sarraj and asked him some questions. LIBYAPROSPECT translated the most important parts of the interview.
Al-Sarraj stated that the PC was the result of the Political Agreement (PA) signed on the 17th of December after a dialogue between all parties to the Libyan conflict. It awarded the legitimacy to the PC as well as recognition from the International Community, subsequent to sharp polarizations and disputes, which unfortunately still cast a shadow on the political scene, in addition to regional and tribal conflicts, looming over a wide range of state institutions, whether it is legislative of executive. It impacted strongly in naming the individuals chosen to fill senior positions, including institutions, bodies or agencies, etc. Al-Sarraj said that “we agree with the political agreement’s terms, which demands to take the regional dimensions into account, as an active initiative. However, it wouldn’t be very positive if choosing individuals based on their geographical background was the decisive factor. As the President, I represent all Libyans and maintain the unity of the people as well as public money, I may find myself sometimes obliged to take a few extraordinary measures that aim to keep the national security of the state intact, which is the case regarding the recent decision; creating a temporary steering committee to manage Libya’s investments, even if it is just temporary, until we agree on the names and characters.”
He stated that the efficiency is the standard, and “I refuse to base my decisions on an individual’s regional affiliations.”
Al-Sarraj added that all members of the PC and the parties involved in the political scene, including himself, must swiftly make such decisions, and that efficiency must be the only standard. The general situation in Libya, security wise and economically, requires everyone to assume responsibility and complete their assigned tasks to set an example for all Libyans, and for decision makers to not make decisions based solely on tribal and regional motives.
He also asserted to the fact that the Political Agreement gave the PC powers to make executive decisions that concern the country and its interests. He further elaborated his position in the government, and by being the Prime Minister, he is the head of the board of trustees of the LIA. That means he is the only person with the full capacity and authority required to manage the company, especially in the absence of a board of trustees that consists of the Ministers of Finance, Economy, and planning, whom all resigned, in addition to the CBL Governor and an independent member. The decision was very vital for Libya’s interest and the preservation of its public money, especially after it had been affected by tribalism and regional influences.
As for the Goldman Sachs case, Al-Sarraj said that the case would’ve cost the nation over 1 billion and hundreds of million. Mainly due to the lack of representation before the courts and disagreements over matters of legitimacy, leaving the person who fills the Prime Minister’s role to take such decisions to preserve Libya’s financial situation.
When answering a question regarding the timing of this decision, Al-Sarraj stated that “it is imperative for everyone to know of our lateness and that we are behind in making this decision,” affirming that the disputes in regards to the legitimacy of the institution’s management, the emergence of similar bodies, the exploitation of international and domestic parties, all caused financial losses as “I have mentioned before, and I will not allow any more damages even If I had to make individual decisions.”
Regarding the PC members, who opposed this decision and threatened to resign, Al-Sarraj said that these statements were not true, there might have been rejections initially by some members. However, “after examining the complication with them and discussing the seriousness of our situation if such a decision was not made, they eventually changed their minds, especially since the decision was to form a temporary committee.” Al-Sarraj added that the resignation of the PC members or any other figure is completely a personal decision to make.