Why Ecobank MD, Charles Kie, suddenly resigned

The sudden resignation of the managing director of Ecobank Nigeria, Charles Kie, might not be unconnected with the incessant police harassment of his person over some transactions, National Daily has gathered.

In a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) this week, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) announced the intentions of Charles Kie to leave the Group. 

According to findings by National Daily, Kie in recent times has been having a running battle with the Police over some issues.

Recall that he had sometimes last year filed a suit at a Federal High Court seeking to restrain officials of the police from arresting him.

In the suit through his lawyer, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), Kie claimed that the police had been stalking him, with the aim of forcing Ecobank to “illegally” transfer $10.5m from the account of one of its customers to a third party.

The lawyer said it was due to the bank’s refusal to transfer $10.5million (about N3.7billion) from the account of a customer, INT Towers Limited, to that of Emirates Fuel Exploration and Production, as ordered by a Lagos Magistrate, Mr W.B. Balogun.

He said he had since been living under the fear of police intimidation and harassment, which he said had in turn been taking its toll on Ecobank’s daily business activities where he has the responsibility of making key decisions daily.

More so, the last few years have been challenging for Ecobank Nigeria, arising from the consolidation of its operations with All States Trust Bank, Hallmark Bank and Oceanic Bank.

This also weighs on the bank as a whole, as Nigeria operations are a huge chunk of the larger parent.

Ecobank acquired the assets and liabilities of All States Trust Bank and Hallmark Bank in 2006. In October 2011, ETI acquired Oceanic Bank PLC.

The entire share capital of Oceanic was cancelled, while its shareholders received one ordinary share of $0.025 and $0.428 preference shares of $0.1032, in ETI, for every 20 held in Oceanic Bank.

ETI (the parent bank) last year set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to acquire impaired assets from Ecobank Nigeria. These include legacy loans from Oceanic bank. The bank last paid a dividend for the 2015 financial year.

ETI closed at N20.60 in yesterday’s trading session on the NSE. Year to date, the stock is up 21.18%.

Results for the first quarter ended March 2018 show gross Earnings increased from N178 billion in 2017 to N198 billion in 2018. Profit before tax increased from N22.8 billion in 2017 to N33 billion in 2018. Profit after tax increased from N18.6 billion in 2017 to N27 billion in 2018.

Ecobank Nigeria was incorporated on October 7, 1986, as a public limited liability company and commenced operations on April 24, 1989. In December 2011, ETI became the sole beneficial shareholder, and the bank was re-registered as a private limited liability company on April 5, 2012.

2017 full year results show revenue dipped from N259 billion in 2016 to N251 billion in 2017. Profit after tax however jumped from N5.8 billion in 2016 to N20.4 billion in 2017.

The bank also disclosed that the search for a successor had commenced and a successful candidate would be announced before the end of August, 2018.