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Investigations on alleged breach of corporate governance by Ecobank in progress – SEC

By on September 16, 2013


The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, has disclosed that its investigations into the alleged breach of corporate governance by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, ETI, is still in progress.

Information gathered from a source in the commission Sunday night revealed that SEC is taking all necessary steps to speedily conclude the investigation on the matter.

In this respect, the regulatory body said it had retained the services of KPMG, a leading accounting, audit and management consulting firm to complement its efforts.

SEC is reportedly investigating pan-African lender, ETI, over alleged anomaly in its 2012 financial statement.

In March, Ecobank, which has operations in 32 African countries said its 2012 pre-tax profit rose to its highest ever level of $348 million, up a quarter on the same period a year ago.

It was gathered that SEC held meetings with Ecobank’s Board of Directors on August 6 to discuss the issue, which was said to have been raised by a suspended former head of finance, Laurence do Rego.

Rego, ETI’s suspended Executive Director in Charge of Risk and Finance had in a letter to SEC copied to its directors, warned that the bank’s board “is not operating in the interests of shareholders”.

Rego accused the Chairman of ETI, Mr. Kolapo Lawson and the chief executive, Thierry Tanoh of attempting to sell off non-core assets at “well below the market value”.

She also alleged that she was asked to write off debts owed by a real estate company chaired by Lawson and to manipulate the bank’s 2012 results to improve those of 2013 when Tanoh was confirmed as the chief executive officer.

Ecobank has acknowledged that there was an investigation, though it gave no details, but said it was fully co-operating with SEC.