FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – In a ruling on Friday, October 6th, 2023, the High Court of Sierra Leone, presided over by the Honourable Mrs. Justice Hannah Bonnie, issued an order against Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone. The court mandated the bank to make a payment of NLE 124,018,730.55, equivalent to $5,536,550.47, within a seven-day timeframe. Additionally, the bank was instructed to deposit 10% of this sum into an account to be opened at Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, under the management of the Master and Registrar of the High Court.
This legal saga unfolded as a result of a case brought before the court by 51 staff members of Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone. The case, titled FELIX BERETHE AND OTHERS v. STANDARD CHARTERED BANK SIERRA LEONE, was filed in response to the bank’s alleged refusal to agree on the payment of terminal benefits entitlements claimed by the staff.
The aggrieved staff were represented by the law firms OJP Legal and Marrah & Associates, while Lambert & Partners appeared on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank. The Honourable Justice deliberated extensively after considering the arguments presented by both sides.
Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone has recently undergone significant changes, having been acquired by Access Bank. In a recent statement, Yetunde Oni, the CEO of the bank, highlighted an impressive financial milestone, revealing that the profits achieved for the year ending December 2022 surpassed any earnings in the bank’s 129-year history. Oni attributed these remarkable profit margins to the unwavering support of customers and the dedication of the bank’s staff, whom she commended for their “performance against all odds” and their “exceptional expertise and resilience in the challenging circumstances faced in Sierra Leone.”
This court order carries significant implications for both the bank and its former staff, underscoring the importance of legal recourse and upholding contractual obligations in Sierra Leone’s business landscape. Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone now faces a pressing deadline to comply with the High Court’s directive, with potential legal consequences for non-compliance.
As this situation unfolds, we will continue to provide updates and insights into the evolving legal and financial landscape in Sierra Leone.