FRC con­firms Ned­bank po­si­tion that Ecobank faces no in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Business Day (Nigeria) - - NEWS - IHEANYI NWACHUKWU

Un­less proven oth­er­wise, the state­ment of the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of South Africa’s Ned­bank on Ecobank should be taken as truth, Daniel As­apokhai, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary/ceo of Fi­nan­cial Re­port­ing Coun­cil of Nige­ria (FRCN), said week­end.

Mfundo Nkuhlu, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Ned­bank, which owns 21 per­cent of the Togo-based lender, said week­end that Ecobank was not un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Nige­ria.

“Un­less you dis­be­lieve them (Ned­bank) and you have the ba­sis to prove oth­er­wise. But if they are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we will get the no­tice out to the pub­lic in line with our pro­cesses. When­ever we have any­body un­der our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we will not make it se­cret,” As­apokhai told Busi­ness­day on phone.

A so­cial me­dia re­port that Ned­bank’s West African as­so­ciate was sub­ject to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Nige­ria’s ac­coun­tancy reg­u­la­tor spooked in­vestors sen­si­tive to any prospect of costly fines in the coun­try, driv­ing down Ned­bank’s share price by more than 4 per­cent.

The re­port said to be “wrong­ful” had al­leged that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­lated to al­le­ga­tions that Ecobank had over­stated its bal­ance sheet and in­come state­ment by ap­ply­ing in­cor­rect ex­change rates.

Ecobank had in a no­tice at the Nige­rian Stock Ex­change al­layed the fears of any of its share­hold­ers, cred­i­tors, and other stake­hold­ers re­sult­ing from the un­founded al­le­ga­tion con­tained in the said pub­li­ca­tion.

At the time of the re­port last month, both Ecobank and Ned­bank said they had not been no­ti­fied of any in­quiry. On Fri­day, Jan­uary 11, 2019, Nkuhlu said Ecobank’s dis­cus­sions with the reg­u­la­tor since then suggested there is no in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Ecobank Transna­tional In­cor­po­rated man­age­ment have ad­vised, based on their in­ter­ac­tion with the Fi­nan­cial Re­port­ing Coun­cil of Nige­ria, there is no in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­der way into the pre­vi­ous re­port­ing of ETI’S an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments,” he said in an emailed state­ment.

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