The Central Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe has declared that the intervention process involving Island Bank, a failed private bank sold to Energy Bank, has been completed, the head of the island country’s financial sector regulatory body announced on Tuesday.
In a statement sent to Macauhub, Maria do Carmo stated that “the process of intervention in Island Bank is finished and that banking institution has been acquired with a view to incorporating it into Energy Bank São Tomé e Príncipe.”
The transfer of assets and liabilities from Island Bank to Energy Bank “will be processed in a normal manner under the control of the country’s central bank,” the statement specifies.
The Central Bank intervened in Island Bank just over a year ago to guarantee stability of the financial system and safeguard deposits. Island Bank was declared bankrupt and the shareholders opted to sell the institution.
The bank was opened in São Tomé by the Nigerian Marc Wabara but went bankrupt three years later, a few months after its owner was arrested in Nigeria for alleged involvement in the fraudulent use of more than US$70 million pertaining to São Tomé and Príncipe.
The money was São Tomé and Príncipe’s portion of the US$120 million auction for bloc 1 in the two countries’ Joint Development Area, which had been deposited at Nigeria’s Hallmark Bank.
The Central Bank’s first intervention in banks took place nearly four years ago and involved Commercial Bank (COBSTP), with capital from Cameroon.
São Tomé’s financial market currently counts seven banks, including one which also carries out investment operations. (macauhub/ST)