Gambia unfreezes Libyan assets

Gambia’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld a request by the government to lift economic sanctions imposed on Libyan assets during the toppled regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

The move restores tens of millions of dollars in property invested by the Libyan Arab African Investment Company (LAAICO) in the West African country to the ruling National Transitional Council in Tripoli.

“I am satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to order and restore the possession, full control, management and administration of the Libyan African Investment Company to the Libyan National Transitional Council for the Libyan people,” Judge Amie Joof said.

The total amount of unfrozen assets was not disclosed by the Supreme Court, but LAAICO notably owns two luxury hotels in Gambia, the Jerma Beach on the coast at Kololi and the Laico Atlantic Hotel in the capital Banjul, as well as an amusement park for children.

In January, the authorities in Tripoli said that Libya had recovered $20-billion in assets abroad. About $150-billion were frozen by several countries in February 2011 under sanctions imposed on the regime led by Gaddafi, who was overthrown and then killed in October.

The National Transitional Council has regularly asked for the return of Libyan assets frozen abroad in order to rebuild the country.

During Gaddafi’s last years in power, Libya invested massively, mainly in Africa and in the Arab world.—Sapa

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