What Happened At The National Bank Of Oman?


National Bank Of  Oman2At least two Central Banks are raising questions about what really happened in Oman in relation to his "fit and proper" assessments.


A legal complaint, filed by Washington-based attorney, Thomas Sjoblom, centred on claims that a Hill-restructured loan portfolio spread across a number of banks in the United Arab Emirates in 2002 left several large investors, among them, the Al-Shanfari group, unable to recover its funds. Hill, the ex-Bank of Oman CEO, was named a co-defendant in the debt-claim lawsuit.


The first licensing hurdle came in 2003 when the Bank of Jamaica refused to grant him the requisite approval under Section 4 of that country’s Banking Act, sources in Jamaica have disclosed. The Sunday Express understands that he eventually got authorisation to continue his management involvement in NCB Jamaica after the intervention of Finance Minister Omar Davies.


The Finance Minister gave the Jamaica-born Hill the nod of approval to run the country’s second largest bank under Section 11 of the Bank of Jamaica Act, which states in part: "A person to whom this subsection applies shall not, without the express authorisation in writing of the Minister, act or continue to act, as a director of, or to be directly or indirectly concerned in the management of any bank."


Davies did not return phone calls left with his office and on his voicemail and the deputy Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Gayon Hosin, said only: "The Bank of Jamaica does not comment on any matters in relation to individual institutions, individuals within institutions or customer information."


Hill dismissed the Oman report as nothing more than an "internet blog" when contacted by the Sunday Express. He said he never bothered to respond to the legal complaint filed in Dubai by the Al-Shanfari Holding Company because there was simply nothing to respond to.


"I have not received any court or any other document whatsoever on this issue so I cannot speak of it and how do you respond to a malicious and inaccurate media campaign that is waged, from what I’ve been told, on the anonymous internet, from halfway around the world, without giving it credence?"


He has refused outright to


discuss the Oman affair, countering that the Sunday Express was chasing an unsubstantiated rumour by a disgruntled investor.


"People take pot shots at you or decide on what is or is not a black mark without ever knowing you. I cannot spend my time dealing with innuendo malice of malicious agendas," he said.


On the issue of licensing hurdles relating to his fitness and propriety as CEO of NCB Jamaica, Hill countered: "I understand the process to be confidential and find it interesting that you are privy to this confidential information."


He said in any event he was not aware of the process employed by the Jamaican Central Bank.


And the difficulties encountered with the local Central Bank?


"I did not file the application and cannot comment on it," he said. The Sunday Express understands that an AIC put-through application for Hill’s appointment as Group CEO of Trinidad is still pending after a near seven months.


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