The Zambian government said it would seek clarification from the United Nations (UN) Security Council whether a resolution to freeze assets owned by the Libyan government would affect the LapGreen Network holding in the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel).
It is also seeking to know if any other relevant assets fall within the definition of assets to be frozen under the UN resolutions.
LapGreen, a Mauritanian company headquartered in Uganda and owned 100 per cent by Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, owns 75 per cent equity in Zamtel, while the remaining 25 per cent shares are owned by the Zambian Government.
Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane, told Parliament here there was a likelihood the shares in Zamtel, held by LapGreen, were affected by the UN resolution.
Musokotwane said as a cautionary measure, government would seek final clarification from the sanctions committee established under clause 24 of the UN Security Council resolution number 1970 on whether the LapGreen holding in Zamtel and any other relevant assets fell within the definition of the assets to be frozen under the foregoing resolution.
“As a consequence, certain actions such as payments of dividends or registration of transfer of such shares, for which, as government, we already have protection in the transaction documents shall be temporarily suspended, pending resolution of the current issues in Libya.
“It is important to note that the freezing of assets, as it pertains to Zamtel, relates to the shareholder LapGreen and its holding of shares in Zamtel.
“It does not involve any interruption of, or impediment to normal operations of Zamtel which will, therefore, continue to operate as normal and is under no restriction or restraint deriving from the above mentioned resolution,” Musokotwane stated.
Government plans to adopt formal general administrative measures that should, under the framework provided by the Zambian law, prevent any breach of the UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 in relation to the freezing of the assets.
He explained that when the privatisation of Zamtel was completed in July 2010, a number of transaction documents were agreed and signed between the government, Zamtel and LapGreen.
“It should be further noted that when the transaction was completed 10 July, 2010, the full US$ 257 million consideration was paid.
“The funds were disbursed in accordance with the transaction documents, with US$ 64 million going straight into the Zamtel account to recapitalise the company. A further US$ 70 million was secured by Zamtel in form of vendor financing by its suppliers.”