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Nigeria’s SEC Told Ecobank to Reinstate Finance Director

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Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission told Ecobank Transnational Inc. last month that it should reinstate Laurence do Rego, the former executive director of risk and finance who alleged senior management fraud.

“When the news broke we did write to them,” said Obi Adindu, a spokesman for the SEC, referring to the Jan. 8 statement from Ecobank that do Rego was no longer employed by the Lome, Togo-based lender. “We have formally written to Ecobank to indicate that action negated the initial position that we had expressed,” he said in a phone interview today from the capital, Abuja.

Ecobank received the letter from the SEC, Mwambu Wanendeya, a spokesman for the lender, said by phone today.

The Nigerian regulator probed Ecobank after do Rego told the SEC in August that former Chairman Kolapo Lawson and Chief Executive Officer 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.

An SEC review of Ecobank last month found “inadequate transparency in the recruitment procedures and mechanisms for board members and executive staff,” the Abuja-based regulator said Jan. 10. It asked Ecobank to appoint a “substantive” chairman and develop a one-year plan to address the governance issues.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in Lagos at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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