SLCB/RCB Unsecured Loans… Commission Of Inquiry To Recover Le40B

 

The determined and no-nonsense Commissioner of Commission of Inquiry No. 1, Justice Biobele Georgewill, has been grilling former managing directors of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank with regards unsecured loans they issued to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to the tune of over Le9 billion without any form of secured collateral.

Earlier, when the probe into SLCB unsecured loans started, Justice Biobele summoned the SLCB Business and Risk Manager who tendered a long list of PEPs that had since 2007 secured loans from the bank that they had not repaid.

Given the gravity of the exposure made by the SLCB Risk Manager who disclaimed responsibility for the loans, Justice Biobele said it was but fitting that the bank’s erstwhile managing directors be called as witnesses.

Testifying as a witness, former SLCB Managing Director, Crispin Deigh admitted that he personally approved unsecured loans between January 2011 and December 2012 totaling Le3.1 billion.

Justice Biobele asked the witness: Were the loans secured or not? What was the collateral?”

Witness replied that the security was a letter from the Ministry of Defense promising cheques that would be payable directly to the bank.

A bemused Justice Biobele further asked the witness: “So if an employee wants to take money from the bank under your tenure, and he brings a letter of undertaking from his employer, is that a secured loan? Is that a secured facility?’

Witness replied “Yes, and justice Biobele exclaimed, “Wow!”

In such a case, justice Biobele asked the witness: “what would you tell the court to pursue in order to recover the money in any form as we are talking here about money belonging to the people of Sierra Leone?”

The witness who by that time was sweating and weak in the knees agreed with Justice Biobele that because the loans in question did not have any adequate collateral security, it was difficult to recover them.

Commission sources have intimated that, put together, the amount of unsecured and unrecovered loans on the books of the two state owned commercial banks, SLCB and Rokel, could be in the region of Le40 billion and more that had been written off by the banks.