July 9, 2014 / 11:37 PM / 4 years ago

Head of Libya investment fund steps down over political law

TRIPOLI, July 9 (Reuters) - The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the North African oil producer, has appointed a new chief after his predecessor stepped down over a controversial political law, according to a statement on Wednesday.

Former Oil Minster Abdulrahman Benyezza has taken over as acting head of the fund, the LIA said. His predecessor Abdulmagid Breish quit after an investigation under a law which bans people from taking a public office if they had a function in the regime of late strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who was deposed and killed by rebels after an eight-month uprising in 2011.

“Mr. Breish has therefore stepped aside, appealed the decision and remains confident of the eventual outcome,” the LIA said in a statement.

The law has been welcomed by some Libyans who suffered under Gaddafi, but is seen as a headache for the government because the country has few experienced technocrats after four decades of one-man rule.

Libya badly needs stability and an end to chaos which has plagued the country since Gaddafi’s overthrow. Top officials frequently get changed, hampering developing the desert country.

The LIA is managing the country’s overseas assets, such as stakes in banks like as Italy’s Unicredit. The country had total foreign assets and reserves worth around $109 billion in June, according to the central bank. (Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing; editing by G Crosse)

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