FORMER Abia State governor and current chief whip of the Nigerian senate Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has sold his shareholding in Gambian-registered First International Banking (Fib) for about $10m ending his presence the financial markets of six African companies.
Senator Kalu, who is currently standing trial alongside his former commissioner for finance, Ude Udeogo, along with one of his companies Slok, is facing an amended 39-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N7.6bn. He has denied allegations that he stole N7.2bn while at the helm of affairs of the state between 1999 and 2007, saying that the state had no such funds at the time.
Now a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kalu represents the people of the Abia North Senatorial District. A millionaire businessman, the former governor appears to have divested his holdings in Gambia-registered Fib, a company engaged in providing financial services in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo.
Prior to the transaction, Senator Kalu’s Slok Nigeria and International Insurance Company (IICL) held 80% and 20% of the issued share capital of Fib respectively. Apparently, the buyer Senator Orji found, Lilium Capital acquired the entire issued share capital of Fib from Slok and IICL for $10m.
Similarly, it issued shares representing an aggregate of 5% of the issued preference share capital of the company to Slok and IICL with the condition that the two firms and its owners will have no say in the running of the acquired banking group. Lilium also proposed to make an annual payment of 1m to Slok and IICL for a period of five years.
Slok Nigeria is part of Slok Holding, a wholly-owned Nigerian consortium of companies engaging in a vast array of operations with presence in the West African region. It operates in all sectors of the economy, mainly focusing on oil and gas, banking and finance, media and publishing, real estate, manufacturing, trading, insurance, and tourism.
Senator Kalu, the Slok chairman, also has investments in other businesses, including the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers in Nigeria. Simon Tiemtore, a Burkinabé, is the founder, chairman of Lilium Capital, an Africa strategic investment company with targeted investment in financial services, energy, hospitality, agro-processing and fast moving consumer goods.