By Yankuba Jallow & Kemeseng Sanneh (KEXX)
Correspondences obtained by Foroyaa from the Registrar of Companies (ROC) at the Ministry of Justice have indicated that Vista Bank is not a registered bank in The Gambia. The ROC’s correspondences, which Foroyaa have, confirm that Vista Bank is not in their system. First International Bank Limited is owned by Slok Nigeria Limited. The current bank, Vista, is not in the registry of companies.
In a letter dated 27 February 2023 and addressed to the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, the Registrar of Companies (ROC) Alieu Jallow said they, according to instruments, duly executed their mandates assigned by the Ministry of Justice, adding that ownership of First International Bank Limited (FIBank) had and remains with Slok Nigeria Limited.
The Registrar’s letter went further to say that even court judgments rendered in the legal dispute between Slok Nigeria Limited against Lilium Grays and Lilium Holdings Limited did not present anything to the contrary. Thus, as far as his office is concerned, he said the ownership of First International Bank Limited was never an issue. In all his correspondences he sent to the Central Bank of the Gambia and the management of Vista Bank, ROC Jallow indicated that the Bank belongs to Slok Nigeria Limited.
On the issue of the name change of the bank from First International Bank to Vista Bank, the Registrar said the application to change the name of the entity could not be reviewed by his office. The Registrar said as the competent authority to register businesses in this country, his Office has an obligation to inform the Central Bank that the name of the Bank remains as First International Bank Limited as there is nothing in the records of the Companies Registry.
In the same letter, the Registrar said the management of the Vista Bank had earlier written informing them that no application brought in the unregistered name of Vista Bank will ever be treated by his office. The Registrar said that was the reason why the application brought by lawyers claiming to be acting for the unregistered entity “Vista Bank” to file annual returns in the said name for the “financial year 2021” was rejected by his Office.
“Any application to this office in respect of the entity in issue, must be in the legitimate name First International Bank Limited and by the rightful owners or agents acting on their behalf. Anything thing to the contrary cannot be reviewed by this office,” the Registrar of Companies maintained.
Readers should note that Vista Bank needs a licence a license to operate which can legally be obtained from the Central Bank only after a bank has registered with the office of the Registrar of Companies.
It is therefore interesting to note that Vista Bank continues to operate under the watchful eyes of the Central Bank without meeting the legal requirements to exist in the first place. Foroyaa will unravel in our subsequent publications the involvement of the Central Bank, a move the Registrar of Companies said in previous correspondences he issued, would never be supported by his office.
To be continued.