Salone News

Press release on FIB Group Limited

10 December 2018 at 20:13 | 1348 views

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 impeachable, 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.

Issued on the instruction of FIB Group and the Central Bank of Sierra Leone Interim Management.

Photo: Bank of Sierra Leone building, Freetown,Sierra Leone.