the CEO of Activa Assurances expected in front of the TCS on July 28

Several personalities are summoned to the Special Criminal Court (TCS) in the context of the case on the fire at the National Refining Company (Sonara) which occurred on May 31, 2019. Among the latter is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the group of Active insurance. Richard Lowe is called to appear on July 28, 2022 at the headquarters of the Specialized Corps of Judicial Police Officers (Csop) of the TCS. According to the summons issued on the instructions of the Attorney General at the TCS since May 9, 2022, the CEO of the Activa group is suspected of “embezzlement of public property and systematic negligence which led to the incident of May 31, 2019 at Sonara”.

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While under an insurance contract with Activa, the main Cameroonian refinery had indeed been the victim of a serious fire which had completely set ablaze 4 of the 13 production units of Sonara, and partially 3 of the refinery units. Who had lost, moreover, about 10 million liters of oil in this disaster. In accordance with the insurance contract that bound it to Activa, Sonara was to benefit from substantial compensation. Except that to date, the two parties are opposed to the respect of contractual obligations by one or the other contracting party. At stake is an amount of 200 billion FCFA expected by Sonara as compensation following this disaster.

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Except that according to a source within the Cameroonian insurance community, the disagreement stems from the delays in payment of the insurance premium by Sonara: “the subject of Sonara was mentioned to Fanaf, but the organization is not entered. It is true that there are many shortcomings, but if Sonara had paid on time, the 200 billion would be paid by the reinsurers. In this type of fire insurance more than half of the premium is paid to reinsurers. Activa takes care of taking the premium for the reinsurers,” says the source. Clearly, Sonara would not have respected the contractual deadlines for payment of the entirety of the said bonus, which according to other sources, was paid the day after the fire of May 31, 2019.

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Within the Activa company, it is word and mouth sewn on the summons of Richard Lowe: “when a case is pending in court, we do not comment on it”, it says. This misunderstanding had prompted Sonara to cancel call for tenders No. 011.19/Aono/Sonara/Cipm/2019 of April 1, 2019 relating to the three-year insurance program (2019-2021). Open national call for tenders, dated October 10, 2019, for the renewal of Sonara’s three-year insurance program for the period 2020/2021/2022. “We must now review the type or types of insurance that fit with the refinery’s situation since May 31. It will be necessary to review the terms of the call for tenders which was launched on April 1. The situation changed with the fire. Due to the change in the configuration of risks following the fire of May 31, 2019,” explained Sonara. Jean Paul Njonou, the Managing Director of this company, also mentioned the conflict between Sonara and Activa, a member of a group of insurers bidding for this call for tenders.

This latest development is characteristic of the tension between Sonara and Activa. But also revealing the wall of incomprehension between Sonara and the Swiss Reinsurance Company, a Swiss insurance and reinsurance company, main reinsurer of Activa, with which Sonara had entered into discussions with a view to settling this case. .

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