Ecobank whistleblower Do Rogo steps down

Chris Kay

The director who reported alleged fraud by executives at Ecobank has left the pan-African financial institution.

Ecobank chairperson Kolapo Lawson and chief executive Thierry Tanoh (pictured) are accused of planning to sell assets below market value. (AFP)

Ecobank said Laurence do Rego, the group executive director of risk and finance who reported senior management to Nigerian regulators over alleged fraud, has left the company.

Do Rego "is no longer an employee of the company," Togo-based Ecobank said in an emailed statement late on Wednesday.

Mwambu Wanendeya, a spokespersonn for Ecobank in Lome, couldn't immediately comment further on do Rego’s departure.

Do Rego joined Ecobank, Africa’s most geographically diverse lender, in 2002 and was appointed to her position in January 2010 after serving as chief financial officer from 2005 to 2009, according to the company’s website. An accountant by training, she also worked for 15 years in Europe.

Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Ecobank after Do Rego told the regulator in August that former chairperson Kolapo Lawson and chief executive Thierry Tanoh planned to sell assets below market value.

Do Rego said she had been pressured to write off debts owed by a business headed by Lawson and manipulate the bank’s results last year. Both Tanoh and Lawson deny any wrongdoing.

Update imminent
The Nigerian regulator will "shortly" provide an update on the corporate governance audit of Ecobank, Obi Adindu, a spokesperson for the Abuja-based SEC, said by email on Thursday. "The audit is institutional and not tied to any individual or office," he said.

Lawson, who retired on December 31, said in October that he was stepping down to end uncertainty and "media speculation" over Ecobank. The bank said in September that Tanoh would forgo his $1.14-million bonus for 2012 as the lender reviews corporate governance.

Founded in 1985, Ecobank operates in France and 35 African countries and has representative offices in Beijing, Dubai and London. The bank had $21.5-billion in assets at the end of September. – Bloomberg

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