Ecobank Director Who Reported Alleged Fraud by Executives Leaves

Ecobank Transnational Inc. 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,” Lome, Togo-based Ecobank said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. Mwambu Wanendeya, a spokesman 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 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.

The Nigerian regulator will “shortly” provide an update on the corporate governance audit of Ecobank, Obi Adindu, a spokesman for the Abuja-based SEC, said by e-mail today. “The audit is institutional and not tied to any individual or office,” he said.

Lawson, who retired on Dec. 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.

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