BUSI­NESS OF BANK­ING

The Mercury - - BRNEWS -

COO OF ECOBANK DE­NIES THAT THERE IS AN IN­VES­TI­GA­TION

ECOBANK is not un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Nige­ria, the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of South Africa’s Ned­bank, which owns 21 per­cent of the Togo-based lender, said on Fri­day. A news­pa­per 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. At the time of the re­port last month, both Ecobank and Ned­bank said that they had not been no­ti­fied of any in­quiry. On Fri­day, Ned­bank chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Mfundo 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. The news­pa­per re­port said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­lated to al­le­ga­tions that Ecobank had over­stated its bal­ance sheet and in­come state­ment by ap­ply­ing in­cor­rect ex­change rates. Ned­bank’s re­la­tion­ship with Ecobank is only now start­ing to pay off after a slide in com­mod­ity prices and un­favourable cur­rency swings in Nige­ria drove Ecobank to a $131.3 mil­lion (R1.81 bil­lion) pre­tax loss in 2016. The mar­ket is par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive to news of Nige­rian cor­po­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tions after the MTN saga, in which the South African tele­coms gi­ant had been threat­ened with a multi­bil­lion­dol­lar fine by Nige­rian reg­u­la­tors. Nige­ria’s Fi­nan­cial Re­port­ing Coun­cil could not be reached by tele­phone on Fri­day. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive pre­vi­ously said that the coun­cil did not dis­cuss its in­ves­ti­ga­tions. | Reuters

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