Consultants unsure as to whether contracts struck under Gaddafi regime will be honoured by next regime

Consultants hit by the fighting in Libya have responded with caution to suggestions that existing contracts struck under the Gaddafi regime will be honoured by the next regime.

John Southgate, director of design and infrastructure at Capita Symonds ,told Building he had heard such reassurances before but warned they were “premature”.

The firm had been project managing a new airport in Benghazi before it was bombed in February, forcing it to withdraw three UK-based staff and 13 Libyan nationals to areas of safety.

“We are keen to go back and support rebuilding when it is safe to do so,” Southgate said. “We have talked occasionally over the past few months to our clients and to our Libyan staff there.”

He added that he was worried by reports that other countries had been more active than the UK in securing rebuilding contracts.

“Are the British government going to sit back and watch while the world cashes in?” he said.

On Wednesday Guma Al-Gamati, UK coordinator of the Libyan Transitional Council, said that Gaddafi-era contracts “will be honoured”.

Richard Steer, chief executive of Gleeds, said the company would not be “holding its breath” on promises of work in the country.

“I’m not sure the rebels will want to honour all the deals, especially any unsavoury ones Gaddafi may have made,” he said.