FIBank Saga: Why the Attorney General and Bank Governor Kallon Must Resign Now!
By a press release (05/01/19)
The controversies over the wrongful transfer of ownership of the First International Bank to Lilium has resulted to outbursts for heads to roll.
With the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone now entangled in a cobweb of controversies and anachronisms over the wrongful transfer of ownership of the First International Bank-Sierra Leone Limited to Lilium Gray's and Lilium Holdings, it is but morally fitting that the two protagonists resign their positions. (Photo: Bank Governor Kelfala Kallon).
Priscilla Schwarz in her capacity as Attorney General and Minister of Justice had on 23rd November 2018 advised the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Professor Kelfala Murana Kallon that Lilium Gray's and Lilium Holdings had acquired the FiBank (SL) LTD as a subsidiary of FIB Group Limited which was owned by SLOK-Nigeria Limited.
The Bank of Sierra Leone in a press release dated 26th November, 2018 signed by Governor Kallon confirmed this with the statement, "...the Bank of Sierra Leone has taken action to ensure that there is a smooth transition in the ownership of FiBank (SL) Ltd." This was consequently confirmed by Lilium Gray's and Lilium Holdings in an embargoed press release released on 11th December, 2018.
But the situation was not what was presented to Crown Agents Bank, by Hanifa Addai, the Director of Banking Supervision at the BSL. Crown Agent Bank performs Correspondent Banking Relationships and is an intermediary for all foreign inflows and outflows for Sierra Leone banks. (Photo: Justice Minister Priscilla Schwartz).
In an email from David Axtell from Crown Agent Bank, the Regional Bank had refused to make outstanding payments on behalf of National Petroleum Sierra Leone because, according to the email, "Crown Agent Bank does not handle any business for any bank where we do not know the ultimate owner of the bank, and we certainly would not have offered correspondent banking to FIB had this dispute been made known to us at the time of onboarding."
This was in response to a payment request by the BSL to the Crown Agents Bank to make an outstanding payments on behalf of National Petroleum Sierra Leone, insisting that no such payments would be made, "until our enquiry has been completed," noting that this will take some time and that, it is "likely to cause some issue for you."
Relatedly, Hanifa from the BSL wrote to David Axtell informing that using the BSL Supervisory and Regulatory powers over Commercial Bank's operating in Sierra Leone, the Governor, Professor Kelfala Murana Kallon has appointed an Interim Management Team that includes, according to the email, Pa Ousmane Njie, Tani Pratt and David Carew to manage the affairs of the First International Bank-Sierra Leone Limited while the issue of ownership is determined in the courts or until he rescinds his order. (Photo: President Bio with Dr. Hassiatou Jalloh in good times).
However, it is worth noting that members of the Interim Management Team are Consultants for Lilium Gray's and Lilium Holdings Limited, which makes them obvious parties to the ownership dispute, for which they cannot be independent in the discharge of their duties and therefore should be removed immediately.
Meanwhile, responding to Hanifa, David Axtell noted: "This seems to conflict with your own email whereby you stated that the Central Bank is not in a position to determine ownership of the Bank which is a correct statement," pointing out that, "I wanted you to be aware of this so you know what the bank is saying."
These developments have in no small measure indicated that both the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone erred in their actions. Firstly, by transfering and announcing of the FiBank (SL) Ltd to Lilium Gray's and Lilium Holdings when the matter is subjudice.
Secondly, by appointing an Interim Management Team for the Bank against an earlier Appeal Court Injunction that orders all parties in the dispute not do anything or take any further action on the matter until the courts have determined. Some of the members of the Interim Management Team have questionable Fit and Proper Test records.
It is in lieu of these grave blunders that both the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone should out of moral principles, resign their respective positions.
This brazen display of disregard for the the ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction has put an FiBank client like the National Petroleum Sierra Leone in a payment quagmire.
Courtesy: By SLOK-Nigeria Media Team