Standard Bank appoints acting CEO in Mozambique, after R66.18m fine

Written by Ciaran Ryan. Posted in Journalism

The bank and two of its senior officials have been fined and debarred from certain banking practices for exchange rate fraud. From Moneyweb.

Image: Naashon Zalk, Bloomberg News
Image: Naashon Zalk, Bloomberg News

Standard Bank has appointed an unnamed acting CEO to replace the outgoing country MD, Adimohanma Chukwuma Nwokocha, who was fined roughly R1.5 million by the Bank of Mozambique this week for fraudulent activities, following an on-site inspection by the bank.

Also fined was Domingos Francisco Madeira, director of corporate and investment banking “for serious infringements of prudential and exchange rate nature,” according to a statement by Bank of Mozambique. Madeira was fined the equivalent of R3.3 million.

Standard Bank was fined the equivalent of R66.18 million ($4.6 million) and suspended from currency exchange activities for a year. Both senior bank officials are debarred from management functions in the financial sector for six years.

The fines were imposed on the bank and its two senior officials for manipulating exchange rates, setting up an illegal payments system outside the country and carrying out irregular financial derivatives operations to hedge exchange rate risks, among others.

The statement says Standard Bank is cooperating with Bank of Mozambique to remedy the irregularities.

Last week Club of Mozambique reported that Standard Bank customers with foreign currency accounts suddenly found themselves unable to access their salaries. This followed the decision by the Bank of Mozambique to suspend all activities involving the conversion of foreign currency in the foreign exchange markets.

Standard Bank is one of the top three banks in the country.

Standard Bank issued the following statement: “In keeping our customers, partners and the general public informed, Standard Bank Mozambique would like to advise that we will continue to engage with Banco de Mozambique for clarification on the foreign exchange allegations. Besides the affected areas, we wish to assure our customers that the daily operations of the bank will not be affected.  As part of Standard Bank’s business continuity processes, an acting chief executive has been appointed to lead our executive management team.

“Standard Bank Mozambique is committed to doing business ethically and responsibly. In addition, our governance and compliance processes remain rigorous as we regard our reputation as our most valuable asset.”

Bank of Mozambique says the one-year ban on forex-related activities could be lifted early based on progress made in remedying the irregularities. “Such measures include, by the (Standard Bank) shareholders, the presentation and implementation of a credible action plan of remediation of irregularities and, by the Bank of Mozambique, the placement of a resident inspector which will ensure continuous monitoring of the action plan.”

Ciaran Ryan

The Writer's Room is a curated by Ciaran Ryan, who has written on South African affairs for Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, Financial Mail, Finweek, Noseweek, The Daily Telegraph, Forbes, USA Today, Acts Online and, among others. In between he manages a gold mining operation in Ghana, and previously worked in Congo. Most of his time is spent in the lovely city of Joburg.