Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

FOUR Sun International employees were being detained without charge in Nigeria‚ the company confirmed on Monday.

The employees‚ three of whom are South African expatriates‚ had been detained by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, without being formally charged‚ Sun International said.

Sun International said it was doing all it could to have them released.

The company has been given access to provide the detainees with blankets‚ food‚ water and toiletries.

Sun International said it was unaware of any criminal conduct on its part‚ in particular anything that could be the subject of an investigation by the commission.

Sun International owns 49.3% of the Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed Tourist Company of Nigeria (TCN), making it the largest single shareholder.

In recent years‚ Sun International has been drawn into a family dispute between its fellow shareholders‚ the Ibru family, that between them control a 49% share in TCN (the remaining 2% being held by the public through a listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange).

The company faced industrial action after the dismissal of five employees last year.

Sun International said unions representing workers at the hotel, behaved aggressively and resorted to intimidation during the strike.

"The unions have on more than one occasion issued demands and made false claims in writing‚ and have circulated their letters to various Nigerian government authorities.

"In December the South African expatriate GM was requested to attend a meeting with the commission, but he had already returned home for the Christmas holidays and postponed the meeting to his return in 2016. The commission was informed of his willingness and availability to meet, but in a surprise move they instead moved to detain four other staff members.

"Three of the detainees are South African expatriates‚ seconded by Sun International to TCN‚ all of whom have valid work permits to be employed in Nigeria."

TMG Digital