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Sun International employees released from Nigeria without charge

The company says it managed to secure their release with the help of the SA High Commission in Nigeria.

Sun International. Picture: Supplied
Sun International,3 SA Sun International employees detained in Nigeria
World Local

JOHANNESBURG - Sun International has confirmed that three South Africans have been released after being detained in Nigeria last week.

It’s unclear why they were detained or what they were accused of.

The employees were held without being charged and Sun International says it managed to secure their release with the help of the South African High Commission in Nigeria.

The hotel group also appealed to the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for assistance.

Sun International spokesperson Michael Farr says the company is co-operating with Nigerian authorities.

“We’ve been asked to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with the history of our investment into the Tourist Company of Nigeria. They would also like to see trading records of the company and we’re very happy to do that.”

Sun International says the detentions could be linked to a labour dispute with a company in Nigeria.

The hotel group says it has continuously offered to have its books independently audited to verify facts related to its purchase of a majority stake in the Tourist Company Nigeria, which owns the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino in Lagos.

Farr said, “In recent months we have become a target of allegations which we have rejected.”

Sun International officials were granted limited access to the four employees to give them food, water and blankets.

In 2006, Sun International purchased 49.3 percent of the Nigerian Stock Exchange listed Company Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc (TCN), making it the largest single shareholder. 

The purchase was approved by the directors and shareholders of TCN and all required regulatory approvals were obtained.

Over recent years, Sun International has been drawn into a long standing family dispute between its fellow shareholders, the Ibru family that between them control a 49 percent share in TCN.

During the industrial action, the two unions which represent the staff who work at the hotel behaved in a very aggressive manner and invoked various methods of intimidation. 

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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