Business

SEC Directs Ecobank to Reinstate Finance Director

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has directed Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) to reinstate the bank’s former Executive Director of Risk and Finance, Laurence do Rego, pending the outcome of a probe into her allegation of corporate governance breaches and fraud in the financial institution.
 
Bloomberg revealed yesterday that the directive was given to ETI last month.
 
“When the news broke we did write to them,” SEC’s Spokesman, Mr. Obi Adindu said, referring to a January 8 statement from Ecobank that do Rego was no longer employed by the Lome, Togo-based lender.
 
“We have formally written to Ecobank to indicate that the action negated the initial position that we had expressed,” he said in a phone interview from Abuja.
Ecobank’s spokesman, Mwambu Wanendeya didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone nor did he reply to an e-mailed request for comment.
 
SEC commenced a probe into the activities of Ecobank last August after Do Rego alleged the bank’s former Chairman, Mr. Kolapo Lawson and Chief Executive Officer Mr.Thierry Tanoh planned to sell assets below market value.
 
Do Rego had alleged that she was pressured to write off debts owed by a business headed by Lawson and manipulate the bank’s results last year. Both Tanoh and Lawson had denied any wrong doing.
 
A SEC review on Ecobank last month had found “inadequate transparency in the recruitment procedures and mechanisms for board members and executive staff.”
It therefore asked Ecobank to appoint a “substantive” chairman and develop a one-year plan to address the governance issues.
 
To this end, the bank has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of its shareholders scheduled to hold on March 3.
 
The shareholders are expected to adopt an action plan and reconstitute the board of directors of the bank, in response to the criticism of its corporate governance structure.
 
The meeting is also expected to adopt a resolution on capital raising and amend the company’s articles of association.

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