South Africa has identified investments made on a “commercial basis” by the Libyan government domestically, including the Michelangelo Towers in Johannesburg.
South Africa’s government will work with Libyan authorities to locate other assets, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said today in an e-mailed statement. The Libyan government will have to decide what it wants to do with the assets and funds, he said.
Libya wants overseas assets to be returned to help replenish its sovereign wealth fund. The Libyan Investment Authority’s value has dropped to about $57 billion from $61 billion in 2008, according to Mohsen Derregia, the outgoing head of the fund. Former President Muammar Qaddafi, who ruled Libya for four decades, was ousted in 2011 after eight months of fighting to overthrow him.
Any allegations of “dubious” investments made in South Africa during Qaddafi’s reign should be directed to the United Nations and the Libyan government, Gordhan said.
“South Africa will continue to engage with the legitimate Libyan authorities on this matter and in support of our international obligations,” the minister said. “All the relevant institutions that report to the Ministry of Finance will cooperate with other government departments and agencies to trace and verify any funds and assets.”