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21st January 2019

Gambia Sets Records Straight as SLPP Govt in a Deep Mess over FIBANK! 

By a press release (10/12/18)

Members of the SLPP govt have messed up the investment climate credentials with their actions on the First International Bank (FIBANK).


President Julius Maada Bio was over the weekend of December 8, 2018, wooed investors in Egypt to bring their money and companies into the regime he leads. However, even as the President was cajoling foreign investors, members of his government have messed up the investment climate credentials with their actions on the First International Bank (FIBANK). (Photo: Former FIBank Director Hassiatou Jalloh-Agbaje, who was sacked by the Bank Governor in Freetown).

FIBANK, in an unprecedented step by the Bank of Sierra Leone Governor Professor K. Kallon and his Deputy Dr. Ibrahim Stevens, backed by Attorney General and Police, was forcibly handed over to a corporate stranger, LILIUM, who have no legal claim to ownership.

Government of Sierra Leone is in this mess as a result of an impugned earlier May 2018 letter from Registrar of Companies in The Gambian Government, Mr. Lamin A.K. Touray which had helped form the basis for officials to make a serious mistake that has now landed Sierra Leone into a morass.

However, the Registrar of Companies in The Gambia where the overall Group for the bank is registered, has in bombshell letters released over the weekend on behalf of the Gambian Government, confirmed that all along it is the FIB Group of SLOK Nigeria and not LILIUM which owns the FIBank. In addition, the Gambian Registrar says there had been a judgment blocking LILIUM from taking over ownership of FIBANK in the Gambia as well as in Sierra Leone and other countries.

One of the bombshell letters dated last Friday December 6th 2018, was addressed to lawyers in The Gambia. We have received a copy of it from sources and it is published in the Awareness Times newspaper. The contents worsen morass within which Sierra Leone Government enmeshed itself through their endorsement of enforced armed takeover of FIBANK by LILIUM.

The letter encloses other letters addressed to the Attorney General of Sierra Leone and to Central Banks of The Gambia and Sierra Leone respectively. Those letters are dated 29th November 2018.

In the letters, the Gambian Registrar said LILIUM agents used subterfuge to cause him to do a change of name of owners of FIBANK when there’s a judgment against such change. The Registrar said he was not aware of such a judgment when LILIUM tricked him.

The Gambian Companies Registrar referred Sierra Leone Attorney General and Minister of Justice Priscilla Schwartz to clauses 1-7 of the said judgment with emphasis on clause 3 which states: "An injunction hereby granted restraining the Defendants and each of them by themselves, their servants, agents or whosoever on their behalf from parading or continuing to parade themselves as owners of the 2nd Plaintiff or majority of the shares of the 2nd Plaintiff."

Mr. Lamin A.K. Touray stated categorically that the judgment and ruling "speaks for itself" and that no-one is permitted to act in a manner that is not consistent with the said judgment which declares LILIUM cannot be owners of the FIBank.

The Gambia’s Registrar further reminded Sierra Leone of the existence of an Order of the Court of Appeals of The Gambia (CA 010/2017) given on 25th October 2018 in which the Court of Appeal of The Gambia warns LILIUM "to desist from any action or steps that are contrary to the judgment of the High Court or that are intended to frustrate the appeal."

Gambia Government has told Sierra Leone Government that claim of FIBank belonging to LILIUM group or its associates, "ought therefore to be disregarded as that is not in accordance with the terms of the subsisting judgment which is on appeal". (Photo: Bank of Sierra Leone Head Office in Freetown).

The Gambia’s Registrar said his latest letters of 29th November 2018 supersedes his earlier letter signed after a change of name done by subterfuge. He asked the Attorney General and the Governor of Central Bank inside Sierra Leone to know that owner of the FIB GROUP shareholding has never been LILIUM. Those other two referenced letters will be published in a subsequent edition.

Lilium Versus FIBANK Saga Taking Ugly Twists and Turns!

LILIUM has issued a self-incriminating press release confirming they are now in contempt of both Appeal Court of The Gambia as well as the High Court of The Gambia whilst local FIBANK Lawyer, Chukuemeka Taylor Esq. writes to the Sierra Leone Chief Justice for three of the Sierra Leone Appeal Court Judges sitting on the matter, to recuse themselves. Things are getting uglier and uglier. See Pages 8 & 9 of our Tuesday 11th December 2018 edition for the details - including the October 30th 2018 Orders of Gambian Appeals Court.

Courtesy: By Awareness Times newspaper, Sierra Leone

Lilium Holdings and LH Financial Releases a Press Statement Regarding FIBANK!

The attention of Lilium Holdings and LH Financial (Lilium) the owners of FIB Group Limited (FIB Group) and FIB Group which in turns owns 91.6 % of First International Bank Sierra Leone Limited (FIBSL) has been drawn to a post being circulated by Slok Nigeria Limited and its cohorts on social media to the effect that its interest in FIB Group and its subsidiaries in the Gambia, Guinea and Sierra Leone has been affected; basing their feigned positions on letters issued by the Registrar of Companies of the Gambia. Lilium and FIB Group wishes to note and inform its numerous customers of the following:

1. That Lilium remains the recognised owner of FIB Group ] currently comprising First International Bank Gambia Limited, First International Bank Guinea Limited and First International Bank Sierra Leone Limited.

2. Lilium’s ownership is currently recognised by the central banks, the regulator of commercial banks in all three countries as of the date of this notice.

3. Lilium is currently carrying out banking operations in all its subsidiaries mentioned above in the normal course of banking business and shall continue to do so in the interest of its customers, shareholders and in the interest of promoting the economies of the respective countries it is carrying on business.

4. Lilium has since taking over the FIB Group been taking steps to rebrand the subsidiaries under the brand name “VISTA BANK”.

5. While Slok Nigeria Limited (Slok) the party from whom Lilium acquired the FIB Group, obtained a default judgment 11th April 2017 that judgment is being appealed against in the Courts in the Gambia and applications to stay any execution of the said judgment is currently pending in the Gambian Courts. It is important to also underscore that the referred judgment based on professional legal advice received by Lilium both in Sierra Leone and the Gambia informs that it was obtained in breach of the contract between Lilium and Slok to refer any disputes that may exist between the parties to the London Court of Arbitration; the default judgment was also obtained by fraud and misrepresentation.

6. The documents Slok executed to transfer its interest in FIB Group to Lilium were duly registered with the Gambian authorities in February 2016.

7. Lilium registered its interest in FIB Group with the Gambian authorities and received valid authorization since 29th June 2016 which is prior to the April 2017 judgement.

8. Lilium took over the subsidiaries in Gambia and Guinea following its recognition by the respective Central Banks. This is evident by Lilium changing the board of both Guinea and Gambia; the accounting and financial documents of these banks for the years 2016, 2017 and continuing have been and shall continue to be signed by Lilium’s appointed directors and personnel.

9. Based on legal advice received, the registration of the Gambia judgment in Sierra Leone is being set aside and as a matter of Sierra Leone law under the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Chapter 21 of the laws of Sierra Leone 1960 during the pendency of such an application such a judgment cannot be enforced in Sierra Leone; it follows therefore that the Gambia judgment as at date has no legal effect in Sierra Leone.

10. Slok irrevocably conveyed its 100% interest in FIB Group by Share Purchase Agreement dated 26th November 2015; with a covenant that only Lilium can reverse such sale.

11. Sloks shareholders and board of directors including Orgi Kalu, Mascot Kalu and Wole Sodipo, all unanimously agreed to and approved of and indeed dispose of FIB Group and its subsidiaries to Lilium.

12. The Managing Director of FIB SL, Mrs. Asiatu Agbaje Jalloh whose fit and proper person status to work for any bank in Sierra Leone has been revoked by the Central Bank of Sierra Leone as well as FIBSLs chairman, Amb. Sulaiman Tejan-Jalloh, fully participated in the process and received full notice from Slok of Liliums acquisition of FIB Group. These persons and Sloks personnel cannot now dispute Liliums ownership of FIB Group and its subsidiaries.

13. Cognizant of the sensitivity of the banking industry and the wider implications any negative publicity may have Lilium has despite the fact that FIBSL was in the wrong hands until 23rd November 2018 when the Central Bank of Sierra Leone recognised Lilium’s interest in FIBSL, Lilium has painstakingly followed due process, the rule of law and shall continue to do so constructively.

14. This desperate attempt by Slok and its cohorts is to impair confidence in relation to FIBSL, affect its business and the Sierra Leone financial sector and economy.

15. Lilium urges calm on the part of its customers and all concerned and assures all that its interest in FIB Group and its above-mentioned subsidiaries is unimpeachable, validly existing and legally enforceable in all the countries it carries on business; we urge for calm pending the publication of further notices to disabuse Slok’s failing attempt to besmear and affect confidence in respect of Lilium’s ownership.


TRIBUTE: Alpha Shaw

Journalist, Student Activist, Leader, 1958-1980

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