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Ecobank in danger



…As court ordered the bank to pay former CEO US$12.3 million

Ecobank Transnational Inc. (ETI) was ordered by the commercial court in Abidjan to pay former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thierry Tanoh 7 billion CFA Francs (US$12.3 million) in compensation, Francois Koumoin, the president of the court, said.

Tanoh, an Ivory Coast national, was removed as CEO of the Lome, Togo-based bank in March last year after regulators probed allegations of management fraud and poor corporate governance at the pan-African lender.

He was replaced by his deputy Albert Essien.

Ecobank considers the decision “unfortunate and unfair” and the amount “excessive” and will appeal against it, said Richard Uku, a spokesman for the company. He said the bank has argued that any legal proceedings should take place in the U.K. or at an international tribunal, since the employment contract was under U.K. law.

A separate lawsuit for unfair dismissal is under way in Togo, according to Uku.

Founded in 1985, Ecobank operates in France and 35 African countries, and has representative offices in Beijing, Dubai and London. Its shareholders include South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. -- the continent’s biggest fund manager; South Africa’s Nedbank Group and Qatar National Bank.

The company’s stock is traded in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Nigeria; and Ghana.

Credit: Reuters

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