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Amity Shareholder Disrupts Functioning Of Banque Atlantique 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

The head office of Banque Atlantique Cameroun that took over the former Amity Bank, failed to open its doors to customers on June 2 following a disruption by a former shareholder.
It was the day which the financial institution was officially supposed to take up its new name ‘Banque Atlantique Cameroun’, following the coming in of the Ivorian bank, ‘Atlantique’, as the new majority shareholder.

But as early as 6.30 am, a one time majority shareholder of Amity Bank, Christophe Silienou, who is the General Manager of SCTM, was already at Bonanjo. By 7 am, the area was flooded by dozens of people, who included some friends of Silienou. But the bulk of the people were said to be ‘supporters’ that he had reportedly mobilized to interrupt the start of the new bank.
Silienou insisted that he was still the majority shareholder of the bank and that the arrangement to bring in ‘Atlantique` was illegal. He claimed to be talking for all the shareholders of Amity Bank.

Heavy Police Presence

The Post learnt that both the new management of the bank and the police had gotten wind of Silienou`s plan and so mobilized element of the Mobile Intervention Unit, GMI No. 2 at Bonanjo, for intervention. By 7 am, a truckload of anti-riot policemen, accompanied by a bus carrying senior police officers, cruised into the premises of the former Amity Bank.

Over 20 police men took up position behind the building, while 10 took up position in front of the bank. Also, over a dozen policemen sat inside the truck which was packed outside the fence, apparently waiting to spring into action. Also, some 10 plain cloth security men sat close to the wall of a building across the road. Tension mounted to fever pitch, and there were fears that a confrontation could erupt between the police and the crowd. 

With the heavy police presence, the main door into the building was opened. Two workers of a private security company ensured that no ‘wrong’ person got into the building. Most of those allowed into the building, were the workers recruited by the management of ‘Banque Atlantique Cameroun’. 

However, work effectively started at the administrative section of the ‘Banque Atlantique Cameroun, located in the former Operational Head Office of Amity Bank. But the story was different at the main branch of the bank. Due to the tense atmosphere, the bank could not open its door to customers that day.

Planting Of New Sign Board

Silienou and some of his friends spent the whole day of that June 2 at the premises of the former Amity Bank. He frustrated several attempts by workers of a private security company to mount a board bearing the new name of the bank, since the board bearing the name of Amity Bank had earlier been removed. By the time the bank closed for the day, the new board had not yet been put up. Rather, at the top of a building where there is a smaller board, the name on it was still Amity Bank.

Meanwhile, The Post leant that the management of ‘Banque Atlantique Cameroun’, did take over some three dozens workers of the former Amity Bank. Some of the victims that The Post saw around the premises of the bank disclosed that the new management had informed them that their dues had all been calculated and paid into their different bank accounts. However, due to the situation at the bank premises, they were unable to have access into the bank to get their money.  

No Original Shareholder Around

Contrary to some reports, there was none of the original shareholders (all Anglophones) of Amity Bank, around. Not even Lawrence Tasha, the founder of the bank. His lawyer told The Post that he was not in Douala on that June 2.

It should be recalled that it was Silienou who pushed Tasha out of the bank and appointed a new General Manager. But the situation of the bank, reportedly worsened by mismanagement,  so degenerated that the Banking Commission of Central Africa, COBAC, was forced to step in and take over its management and moved on to restructure the financial institution.

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