FRC confirms Nedbank position that Ecobank faces no investigation
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.