According to a press release issued by First International Bank (FIB) on Monday 26th November 2018, the management of the bank wishes to inform its customers; members of the banking industry and the general public that LH Financials Limited and Lilium Holdings Business concerns owned by the America Group, Lilium Capital, a New York-based emerging market investment and advisory firm with long history of investing in emerging markets with the approval of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone have taken over the management and operations of the FIBank.
The release further states that they are assuring all concerned that normal and improved banking operations of the business of FIBSL will continue under the new owners.
The bank was closed on Monday 26th November 2018, and there were no banking officials. The Public Relations Officer of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Beresford Taylor, said there is no problem with the bank but just the usual change of ownership that has occurred.
He said the bank will be open to customers again today Tuesday 27 November 2018 as the usual transactions will continue.
“I want to assure all in the banking industry that there is no cause for alarm as the bank is financially strong, only that they are changing management and the services will continue.”
According to sources at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) the Managing Director, Assiatu Jalloh, was taken for questioning as there are reports of ownership tussles at the bank.
There has been serious problems of the change of ownership since 2016, but the bank officials have always denied the new owners.
The FIBank group of companies is owned by SLOK Holdings, which is owned by Nigerian businessman, Chief Urji Uzor Kalu, who is one of the richest Nigerians. He owns the Daily Sun and New Telegraph Newspapers in Nigeria, with interests in shipping, banking, oil trading, manufacturing and insurance.