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Sierra Leone News: Commission of Inquiry Sierra Leone News: SLCB declares Le7.8b bad debt from politically exposed persons

According to the Chief Risk Officer at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) Ibrahim Rahman Mujatabah, the bank has written off over Le7.89 billion from the unsafe and unsecure loans obtained by politically connected people. On the 13th February 2019, the Director of Business Development at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, Moses Comboh Sesay, said the bank gave out over Le9 billion unsecure and unsafe loans from 2007 to 2018. While testifying before Justice Biobele Georgewill of the Commission of Inquiry, at the former Special Court compound, on Tuesday 19th February 2019, the Risk Officer at SLCB, Mujatabah, said that the bank has a policy that once a bank loan cannot be repaid within 12 months, such loans are to be categorized as lost. He added that after another 12 months, it must be written off from the person that took the loan and transferred to the bank as a bad debt. The witness said even though they placed those loans as bad debts but they are still chasing after those monies from the debtors. The witness said before a debt is written off, the credit department will request the legal department to issue a letter of demand for the external solicitor to institute Court action. He also added that they have to visit the customers that took the loans in order to determine their next line of action. “The bank has nothing to fall back on in the case of unsecure loan,” he said. The witness said in the Le9.1 billion owed by those “politically exposed persons”, Le1.679 billion is loans that remain to be paid. He said it has not yet reached the period for it to be written off. The Chief Risk officer said they have a separate contract with Credit Recovery Agency, adding that as a result of such contract they were able to recover Le2 billion. He said such recovery is made possible as there is agreement in place for it with the bank.


By Mohamed J. Bah

Wednesday February 20, 2019.

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