BY FLORIAN KAIJAGE
4th September 2011
New Bahari Beach Hotel
Even before its official opening, $20m Bahari Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam stands to fall in the category of the international assets, formerly owned by Libya's leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his cronies which, were being unfrozen to rebuild a war – torn country. The four–star–hotel, formerly under the Tanzania government ownership, is owned by foreign investor from Libya, namely Libya Arab African Investment Company (LAICO).
Laico is one of groups of companies established by Col. Gaddafi's government under umbrella of Libya Africa Portfolio (LAP), which covers a wide range of enterprises across African Continent in the areas of tourism, telecommunication oil exploration, construction, Agriculture, fuel distribution and banking.
According to its website, Laico Hotels Company owns several hotels in 11 countries in Africa and boost of investments in 25 out of 54 African countries.
Laico Hotels which its total assets are estimated to be worth $345 million, has its headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, and its board chairman is Ibrahim Mabrouk Abou Baker and the Managing Director is Gilani Makhzoum. The group (Laico) is one of the Libyan business conglomerates listed by UN- Security Council whose assets are claimed to be benefiting Col. Gaddafi, his family, relatives and his close allies in Libya.
Laico Bahari Beach hotel General Manager, Gerard Shraven told the Guardian on Sunday in an interview that he expected the hotel to be opened in November.
"As per the plan we have, the hotel should be officially opened on November 1 after completion of the refurbishment which has been going on for some months, it is a good investment which would eventually benefit Tanzania as we expect to employ 125 workers' He noted.
Bahari Beach Hotel, one of the hotels built by government for tourist purposes in 1970s during Mwalimu Julius Nyerere era, was privatised about a decade ago after it was listed under the Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC).
Located at the shore of Indian ocean, in the Eastern part of Salaam, off Bagamoyo Road, the hotel has 92 deluxe rooms, four presidential suits as well as intercontinental rooms for families.
However amid the growing pressure from the International Communities mainly led by the Western countries, the multimillion dollars hotel located about 25 kilometer from the heart of Dar es Salaam, faces a bleak future.
On the UN – Security Council resolution to have all Libya's assets frozen for the eventual benefit to rebuild the post war country, Shraven expressed "I really know nothing regarding to the hotel proprietors as I communicate with my employers in Tunisia".
The Government's official documents at the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) seen by the Guardian on Sunday reveal that Laico has been in the country for nearly 14 years since its registration.
BRELA's books printed on 13 November 2006 which contain list of registered companies and business names show that the company was registered as Laico Limited and given 32759 as number of incorporation.
Last week the Security Council committee that monitors sanctions against Libya agreed to unfreeze $1.5 billion in Libyan assets for emergency aid to the country, where rebel forces that have ousted Col. Muammar Gaddafi are confronting a humanitarian crisis as they attempt to establish security and form a new government.
The committee's decision came after South Africa, a committee member that has enjoyed close ties with Colonel Gaddafi and expressed doubts about the credibility of the rebel forces, dropped its opposition to releasing the assets. Unanimous consent by committee members was required. Tanzania and South Africa are among 41 African countries which are yet to recognise the Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate government of Libya
The move came in less than a week since The United Nations and its diplomatic partners seeking a resolution to the Libyan crisis urged the Security Council to release assets frozen under United Nations sanctions to the country's transitional authorities to help them set up a government in Libya.
Members of the Group – the UN, European Union, NATO, the League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, Gulf Cooperation Council, and, by invitation, the African Union – declared that the NTC was, currently, the sole representative of the Libya people.
What are Libya's Investments across Africa
Under Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a large number of sub-Saharan African countries in a cross section of sectors
In Neighbouring country Chad for instance Libyan government has invested in Construction of two banks known as Banque commerciale et du Chari, and the Banque sahelo-saharienne. Other projects in Chad includes Construction in N'Djamena of a five-star hotel (Kempinski) and 10 villas for heads of state, construction of a major school, university and sports complex, and purchase of SOTEL, Chadian telephone company (Societe tchadienne de telephone).
LAICO manages one of Libreville's two big hotels. OilLibya is involved in oil exploitation and Since 2008 it has held a 52 percent holding in the Panafrican radio Africa N°1 which has 20 million listeners in 20 countries on the continent.
A five-star hotel, four cashew nut processing plants, development of farmland and a large proportion of the arms and vehicles of the Guinea Bissau armed forces was financed by Libya.
LAP Green, through Tamoil, controls one of the country's main petrol distributors Mobil Kenya, under the name OilLibya. Laico have a big stake in the former Grand Regency Hotel, one of the prestigious tourist Kenya's hotels in Nairobi.
Libya provided $185-million to buy land from the Office du Niger, through the Malibya company and a further $125-million to build a government administration complex in Bamako.
Gaddafi's government also spent $40-millions in the hotel sector to buy two hotels. Also Libya owns two banks in Mali.
The Col. Gaddafi's government was involved in the Construction of a hotel at Agadez area in the north of the country and the country's biggest mosque in Niamey. It holds shares in the formerly public telecommunications business SONITEL. Tamoil is also present in Niger where it awards scholarships.
In in 2007 LAP (Libya Africa Portfolio) Green made acquisition of 80 percent of the capital of telecoms operator Rwandatel and acquisition by LAICO of the ex-Novotel in Kigali.
However, in April 2011 Rwanda government froze all assets belonging to Laico Umubano – the management company that was running the Kacyiru based, hotel to comply with UN resolution imposing a freeze on funds and other financial assets and economic resources owned and controlled by the Libyan government.
LAICO owns 100 percent of the Ensemble Hotel Holdings group, proprietor of the high-prestige Michelangelo Hotel, situated inside popular Mandela Squire in Johannesburg. Also has a minority holding in the Legacy Hotel Holdings group which manages 19 luxury establishments.
The Tropical Bank Limited is 99.69 percent controlled by the Libyan Foreign Bank.
Tamoil, a Libyan firm too signed an agreement in 2007 with a view to building a $300-million oil pipeline between Uganda, where reserves are put at 2.5 billion barrels, and Kenya from where the oil will be exported. The implementation of the deal has been held up by a contract dispute between Tamoil and the Ugandan authorities. LAICO owns the Lake Victoria hotel at Entebbe.
The Libya Foreign Bank, subsidiary of the Libyan Central Bank, owns 14 percent of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), one of the biggest private banks in the country, in which the state has a holding. Through LAICO and OilLibya Libya also manages several hotels and service stations in Gambia and Senegal.