High Court Judge Slams Injunction to Suspend Access Bank Acquisition of Standard Chartered Bank

As Former Employees Sue…

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a significant legal development, 51 former employees of Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone have taken their case to court, seeking resolution regarding redundancy compensation and other employment benefits. The issue arose after the bank’s acquisition by Access Bank Sierra Leone earlier this year.

For years of dedicated service to Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone, these former employees, who held various Senior Management positions, including Relationship Manager, Financial Institutions, Value Centre General Manager and Head of Finance, Crime, Compliance, found themselves impacted by the acquisition deal with Access Bank.

The plaintiffs, in their petition filed at the High Court of Sierra Leone, asserted that the sale of the bank to Access Bank resulted in a breach of contract, specifically with regard to the non-payment of redundancy compensation. They argued that the bank’s actions demonstrated a lack of consideration for their employment status and represented a failure to fulfill their duty of care.

The former employees emphasized the need for the court to intervene and address the breach of contract. They contended that the acquisition should not be finalized without proper consideration for their rights and interests.

Despite regulatory approval for the sale, these employees have sought an ex-parte interim injunction to halt the proceedings, expressing concerns about potential risks and uncertainties associated with the sale that could negatively impact their situation.

The plaintiffs underscored the importance of safeguarding employees’ welfare during significant corporate transitions like mergers and acquisitions. They urged the court to prioritize their rights and interests and prevent any potential harm stemming from the acquisition.

Justice Madam H. Bonnie, on August 4th, 2023, granted an injunction that temporarily suspends the payment of approximately USD 5 million as security for the claims made by the employee-plaintiffs. This legal action effectively puts a hold on the finalization of the sale until the court can thoroughly assess the evidence and arguments presented by both parties.

As the legal process unfolds, it remains to be seen how the court will navigate the complex circumstances surrounding this case. The interim injunction serves as a temporary measure to ensure that the bank fulfills its legal obligations toward its former employees and addresses their concerns before proceeding with the sale to Access Bank Sierra Leone.


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