Investigations into the Fly Salone debacle continues and as we uncover more facts, it is becoming clearer that the excuses put forward by the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Logus Koroma were nothing short of a deliberate attempt to play victim, as the glaring inadequacies of his ministry are being highlighted by this doomed deal.
Through our network of underground reporters, we have discovered that the FlySalone management took a Le6BN ( Billion) loan from the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank ( SLCB), putting up a large plot of land at Aberdeen as collateral. The said land is now up for sale and the potential buyer has been described as Hisham Mackie – a popular Lebanese business man.
Our sources say Fly Salone were initially refused the loan for lack of a business plan, prompting a move to develop the said plan by hiring a consultancy firm based in Freetown. The firm requested a $20,000 fee for the business plan but Sabra and his partners refused to pay, claiming the amount was exorbitant.
They then used their government influence to pressure the bank to grant them the loan facility. Unfortunately, the airline management claimed it was losing $ 50,000 ( fifty thousand dollars) weekly since they commenced operations, hence their going into liquidation.
We also discovered that the company was requested to pay an $800,000 deposit by the air craft company – Icelandair but they only paid $200,000 so they were in arrears of $600,000. To pay up this loan, they needed to pay $268,000 every 15 days – approximately $505, every flight hour. FlySalone was to also pay the crew’s salaries, accommodation and other bills.
Platinum Media now believe the FlySalone contract was an extremely bad one which could have needed at least a $2m start up capital. Government was probably ill -advised to sign such a contract.
We have unsuccessfully tried to reach the Deputy Managing Director at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank to corroborate the above facts. The Deputy MD was alleged to have initially refused the loan facility to Fly Salone.