One of the wealthiest men in Sierra Leone, who built his fortune in extractive industries, died suddenly at White Chapel Hospital in London, according to the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
Gibril Santigie Moseray “Super” Fadika was planning to run for the presidency of Sierra Leone in 2018 on the ticket of the All Peoples Congress. His passing comes as plans with an international investor who bought Sierra Leone mining assets have collapsed, leaving many bondholders holding worthless paper, according to a report in Bloomberg news. Thousands of Sierra Leoneans could also lose their jobs, it is feared.
Fadika was the point person in Sierra Leone for the multinational corporation, African Minerals, owned by the Romanian businessman Frank Timis, which controlled one of West Africa’s largest iron ore concessions.
Timis, 51, a swashbuckling natural resources investor with blue-chip backers such as BlackRock Inc. and Capital Group, amassed a fortune developing projects that included a $2.5 billion iron ore mine deep inside the hinterland of war-torn Sierra Leone.
But there’s also a darker element. Twice found guilty of heroin possession in Australia, Timis was deemed “unsuitable” to be a director by the Toronto Stock Exchange for failing to disclose those convictions.
This March, Timis’ African Minerals Ltd. collapsed, leaving behind a trail of recrimination and multimillion-dollar losses from China to London. According to a Standard Times newspaper article, Shandong Mining Company is refusing to release an agreed amount for operations to continue in the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mine.
The fallout threatens to derail Timis’ ambition of creating a $10 billion West African resources giant. It also raises questions about the role of U.K. market regulators, who have so far been silent on the matter, according to analysts, investors and former employees.
“There needs to be a deep investigation,” said Russell Fryer, founder of Greenwich, Conn.-based Baobab Asset Management and an investor in the company. “African Minerals constricted the news flow to shareholders. In this case, no news was bad news. There are big questions over some of the board decisions.”
More than 160 small shareholders represented by the law firm Wellers Law Group LLP are now considering ways to recoup losses. They claim a rescue proposal of approximately $875 million from Shandong that arguably would have kept African Minerals afloat wasn’t publicly disclosed. A spokesman for Timis Corp. denies there was a “formal approach” from Shandong.