Business News of 2013-12-27

Tension mounts at NIB

Tension is said to be brewing at the National Investment Bank (NIB) over purported attempts by management to shield the Executive Head of Banking Operations, Samuel Asiamah, who allegedly authorized payment of overdrafts to some unnamed entities and individuals without executive approval.

Mr. Asiamah, DAILY GUIDE can confirm, has since been asked to proceed on an accumulated leave till February 2014 for the tension to defuse.

Sources at NIB indicated that there was growing disquiet over the lackadaisical attitude of management on the matter considering the fact that Mr. Asiamah chaired the bank’s disciplinary committee and severely applied strict sanctions against members of staff, who appeared before him with lesser offences.

A source at the Head Office, who pleaded anonymity, told DAILY GUIDE that management’s decision to ask the Head of Banking Operations to proceed on leave was a deliberate ploy to sweep the matter under the carpet.

This purported ploy is said to have further agitated some senior members of the bank, who have called for appropriate sanctions to be applied to ensure equity.

They described the treatment as unfair, considering the plight of some staff, who were summarily dismissed for committing minor offences in the past.

The source blamed the seeming lapses at the bank on the lack of a substantive Managing Director (MD) as well as an active board after the tenure of the current board expired in July 2013.

This, according to the deep-throat source, does not only affect the smooth operations of the bank but its fortunes in the wake of strict competition in the banking sector.

However, speaking to DAILY GUIDE, Head of NIB’s Marketing and Corporate Affairs Department, J. N. Halm indicated that the current management would not shield anybody, who is found to have acted in contravention of the laid down procedures and regulations of the bank.

According to him, the Executive Head of Banking Operations was asked to proceed on leave while investigation was being conducted.

Even though Mr. Halm did not confirm whether Mr. Asiamah’s leave was in connection with the overdraft payments, he indicated that “management has asked him to proceed on leave because of some operational issues that have come up.”

He intimated that “if an issue of this nature comes up there would be an investigation…and therefore you cannot say let’s punish him now.”

He said the bank’s Audit Department had commenced investigations into the issues, maintaining that “until the audit comes out with a full report, it will be very difficult to say it was overdrafts because it will be hearsay.

“If audit comes and he is found culpable and he is asked to go scot-free, then we can talk of him being shielded,” Mr. Halm stated.

NIB, he maintained, has satisfactory measures and that Mr. Asiamah was asked to proceed on leave so that he would not interfere with the investigation.

He indicated that the Executive Head of the Banking Operations initially applied for leave.

Mr. Halm also dismissed the claim that there was no active board to oversee the affairs of the bank.

“As far as I am concerned and as far as the bank is concerned, there is a board. We have a board in place and we have a very active acting Managing Director, who has been perfect so far,” he told DAILY GUIDE.