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الضحايا نيوز / كتاب واراء

29 فبراير 2016
الاثنين 04:22 صباحاً 2 :: سامي رضوان -By Sami Redwan

LAP GreenN’s fall from grace was utterly avoidable

LAP GreenN’s fall from grace was utterly avoidable
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By Sami Redwan
The telecoms provider LAP GreenN’s fall from grace has been nothing short of 
spectacular. 
Established in 2007 with a total investment capital of over US$1 billion, LAP GreenN
is wholly owned by the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP), the African 
investment arm of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA). 
With coverage spanning from Sierra Leone to South Sudan, its expansion across the 
continent seemed inevitable, and the company was set to become the darling of the 
African telecoms industry. 
But by the end of 2014, LAP GreenN only had a few million dollars left to its name. A 
year later, its debts had spiralled to US$425 million. 
What are the reasons behind this sharp reversal in fortunes? 
Our report below has been compiled with information from several sources within 
both the LIA and LAP GreenN.
In short, LAP GreenN was the engineer of its own downfall. Key factors contributing 
to its demise included a poor hiring strategy, incompetent internal management and 
high-profile disputes with partners, the most notable of which was the 
nationalisation of Zamtel (75% owned by LAP GreenN) by the Zambian government 
in 2012. 
However, the real tragedy of the LAP GreenN’s decline is that it could so easily have 
been prevented, if the company had only heeded advice of the Libyan Investment 
Authority (LIA). 
The LIA’s repeated efforts to save LAP GreenN
The LIA in Tripoli has gone to huge lengths in its attempts to save LAP GreenN over 
the last five years. 
This began in 2012 when the LIA’s then-Chairman, Mohsen Derregia, offered staged 
funding to LAP GreenN in exchange for meaningful reforms. But of the US$208 
million of assets – including US$133 million of cash – provided to LAIP (under its 
General Manager Ahmed Kashadah) and LAP GreenN (under its General Manager 
Wafic Shater), US$90 million is still unaccounted for. 
This kind of mismanagement on the part of the LAP GreenN’s leadership has been a 
recurring theme, and a major obstacle to progress. It was again in evidence two years 
later, at a time when the LIA’s Chairman AbdulMagid Breish had commissioned 
respected international consultancies Oliver Wyman and Deloitte to analyse and 
review LAP GreenN's business plan and financial model. 
Both the plan and the model were found to be severely deficient. Showing a strategic 
clarity and business discipline wholly lacking within LAP GreenN, the LIA board 
refused to provide the company with a US$400 million loan that it clearly wouldn’t 
be able to repay, and instead equipped the company with a new strategy. 
Under this strategy, LAP GreenN would undergo a wholesale restructuring. It would 
slim down its operations by closing its Dubai office, and focus on the key markets of 
Uganda and the Sudan. The ultimate objective: to bring LAP GreenN’s rampant 
expenditure under control and make the company profitable once more. A sensible 
plan, and one which illustrates the pragmatism that the LIA has shown in recent 
months – particularly with its recent call for its assets to remain frozen until a new 
unity government is in place. 
This plan could have been a turning point for LAP GreenN. But instead, LAP GreenN 
decided to completely ignore it. Ahmed Kashadah and Ali Hibri, Chairman of LAIP in 
Tripoli, refused to carry out the LIA board’s instructions. Furthermore Wafic Shater 
refused access to the LIA’s forensic auditors. These auditors had been instructed by 
the LIA to investigate LAP GreenN’s annual expenses, which were running between 
US$17-25 million. And this was for an office with no more than ten employees! 
So what was the result of LAP GreenN’s defiance of the LIA’s instructions? An 
estimated US$1.5 billion worth of funds ploughed into the company, with very little 
to show for it. 
The LIA continued steadfastly in its efforts to save the company. It also continued its 
wider examination of over 550 companies forming part of its investment portfolio, 
categorising these companies into two buckets – one for immediate liquidation and 
the other for a managed exit and sale. However all these efforts had to be put on hold 
when the country was struck by civil war and split into two governments based in 
Tripoli and Tobruk. 
LAP GreenN’s ill-fated restructuring
The most recent setback for LAP GreenN came last August. A breakaway group based 
in Malta and fraudulently claiming to represent the Libyan Post, Telecommunication 
and Information Technology Company (LPTIC) announced a “strategic 
consolidation” which included the supposed acquisition of LAP GreenN by LPTIC. 
The effect of this acquisition was disastrous for LAP GreenN. Rather than address its 
underlying problems, the acquisition served simply as a means of transferring the 
LAP GreenN’s debts and liabilities to a new company. 
Worse, it also obscured the identity of those within LAIP and LAP GreenN who might 
have been responsible for corrupt activities within the organisation, making it more 
difficult to bring them to justice. 
The future for LAP GreenN
It is vitally important to shine a spotlight on the reasons behind LAP GreenN’s 
downfall, so that important lessons can be learned and those responsible for corrupt 
activities within the organisation brought to justice. 
What is even more important, however, is getting the organisation back on its feet, 
and recouping the Libyan people’s investment. This will only happen if LAP GreenN 
heeds the advice of the LIA and signs up to its strategy for a disciplined, well-managed - and prosperous - future.

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