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“Bank of Sierra Leone did not issue promissory note to ICC” Senior Bank Official

“Bank of Sierra Leone did not issue promissory note to ICC” Senior Bank Official

It has emerged last night that the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) did not issue a Promissory Note to the International Construction Company (ICC) for the supply materials and equipment for the construction and provision of water supply in the regions in the late 1990’s worth US$13 million.

Promissory note according to a minute paper signed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Hon.Franklyn Bai Kargbo dated March 17th 2014 is an unconditional written promise signed by the maker to pay absolutely and in any event a certain sum of money either to the order of the bearer or designated person.

A senior bank official who confided in Sierra Express Media claimed that the government of Sierra Leone at the time issued the promissory note while the Bank only stood as a guarantor.

ICC took the government to court following their failure to honour the payment of the US13 million as contained in the promissory notes (PN1425 to 2525) issued to the Company in the late 1990s for the supply of materials and equipments leading to the construction of water supply in various provinces across the country.

The senior bank official pointed out that before now only the government issues promissory note and not the bank and that they have been very cooperative in resolving the issue.

On the advise of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, he said, all parties to the matter held their first meeting at his Lamina Sankoh Street office which was attended by the Bank Governor Sheku Samba Deen Sesay and Mr. I.K Lamin. The official emphasized that the bank is ready to obey the instructions of the President or the Ministry of Finance at any time and that the Governor is in a way trying to stand against the instructions of the President.

He said “the bank is an organized institution and that if the Ministry has a problem the Bank should not be blamed for that”.

The senior official said to justify that they were ready to address the issue, the bank included the ICC dept in the list of debtors in the debt bank risk programme with the World Bank but did not materialize because the company pulled out.

“On the issue of the court, our own role is only as a guarantor and not the lender of the said amount. The Bank has instructed our lawyers Renner Thomas & Co to represent us in court. We have received the writ and have entered appearance,” the senior officer said adding that the main body responsible to address the issue is the Ministry of Finance and they are the creditors.

A minute paper forwarded to President Koroma dated March 17th 2014 and signed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Franklyn Bai Kargbo among other things recommended an early settlement of the matter. Mr. Kargbo called on the Minister of Finance and the Governor to negotiate with the ICC to enable them arrive at an agreement. The delay in resolving the issue prompted the Company to seek legal redress in the high court.

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