Standard Chartered Bank Botswana CEO, Moatlhodi Lekaukau has denied that his surprise exit from the bank is due to pressure for his resignation following allegations of ‘corruption and falsification of information’ made by the Oseg Group.
The CEO’s resignation comes as reports swirl around the bank over a letter by Oseg CEO, Pheko Majakathata in which he complained to the Bank of Botswana about what he termed “incidences of corruption, understating of impairments and falsification of information as perpetrated by the leadership of Standard Chartered Bank”.
In his letter to Bank of Botswana director of banking supervision, Lesedi Senatla, Majakathata claims that after failing to service his debts with Stanchart, his efforts to rehabilitate the business and the debt were deliberately frustrated by Stanchart’s leadership of the bank.
“We received a tipoff from internal and from a couple of business people that the CEO and a cabal of his friends both inside and outside the bank were intentionally and aggressively looking for ways to weaken Oseg Group, tarnish its name diminish its value as they were in the same competing businesses interest, in the Call Centre Business and the Factoring Business,” the letter reads.
Oseg operates in Business Process Outsourcing and Financial Services space.
Lekaukau is set to leave the bank on March 31, 2017, according to a notice shared with investors via the Botswana Stock Exchange yesterday.
“I have done five years with the bank and decided it was a good time to do something new. It has nothing to do with the Oseg Group,” Lekaukau told Mmegi Business yesterday.
Bank of Botswana spokesperson, Andrew Sesinyi confirmed receiving a complaint from Majakathata, but emphasised the central bank was investigating the query and not Standard Chartered.
“The bank has not instituted any investigations against Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Limited.
The bank received a complaint from a customer of the commercial bank and it is that customer complaint
On Lekaukau’s resignation Sesinyi said the matter was entirely between the CEO and his employers although they were made aware of the impending resignation.
“The appointment, including contractual obligations and conditions of service of all staff of commercial banks is the responsibility of the boards and management of the banks and not the central bank. Therefore, termination of employment does not require prior consultation with the central bank, save for information only,” Sesinyi said.
Lekaukau is leaving at a time when the bank is also expecting its soon to be released financial results to be impacted by the closure of the BCL Mine.
Standard Chartered, which is Botswana’s third largest bank by loan book, is currently trading on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) under a cautionary due to the bank’s exposures to the recently closed BCL mines and its retrenched workers.
Standard Chartered’s profits fell by an unprecedented 85% to P47 million in 2015 due to higher interest expenses coupled with a huge P100 million impairment charge, which the bank said was largely for one corporate client.
Since joining the bank in February 2012, Lekaukau has maintained a strong business performance, despite several headwinds that hit the Botswana banking sector in recent years including tight liquidity, low interest rates and sluggish economic growth.
“Mr Lekaukau has successfully guided the company through the difficult business environment of recent years, maintaining a strong balance sheet and ensuring a balance between investment and returns to shareholders.
“The process of identifying an appropriate replacement for Mr Lekaukau is underway and an announcement shall be made in due course,” reads a statement from Stanchart.