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Uneasy calm at ARB Apex Bank over MD’s tenure

There is uneasy calm amongst the staff and management of ARB Apex Bank, the regulator of rural and community banks in Ghana, over the possible extension of the term of the current Managing Director, Kojo Mattah.

According to the staff and management, the MD has reached his compulsory retirement age but has begun the processes of ensuring his tenure is extended, a situation most of the workers are convinced would spell doom for the Bank. sources at the Bank of Ghana indicate that a senior staff member, George Essien, has filed a petition against any extension of the term of the MD.

Two anonymous letters from “Concern Staff” which have been sighted by and copied the Office of the President, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Minister for Finance, and the Board of Directors of Apex Bank prior to the formal petition from Essien.

The workers said, “unbeknownst to the Procurement Committee of Apex Bank, which was sitting over the process, the MD, in the company of the Heads Operations as well as Legal and Compliance, allegedly visited Dubai to engage one of the tenderers”.

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The letters said, “the MD allegedly ignored the report of the Procurement Committee and awarded the contract to the tenderer they met in Dubai”.

Some disgruntled former staff of Anlo Rural Bank, where the MD once worked, explained the claim of fraud is not surprising.

According to them, there is an Audit Investigation report implicating the MD in a fraudulent transaction while serving on the Anlo Rural Bank Board.

This reporter has actually cited a letter dated 20th July 2017 in which the MD was made to refund money to the Anlo Rural Bank after the Audit Investigation.

Besides these purported breaches and character flaws, sources within the Bank reveal a silent rage over the Board of Directors’ decision to grant the MD’s request for extension by seeking the same from the Bank of Ghana.

The source of this anger is the disregard for the fact that Mr. Mattah is expected to celebrate his 60th birthday come July.

On condition of anonymity, a Management member has indicated that there are even discrepancies on the date of birth of Mr. Mattah, suggesting he is over 60 years already.

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In fact, our sources at the Bank of Ghana have expressed disgust at the Board of Directors’ willingness to seek extension for the MD without attempting to address the issues outlined in the Petition and the Letter from Concerned Staff.

Concerns are also raging over the sense of deteriorating financial position of the Bank given the increased risk exposures from discriminatory over-drawn balances of customers of the Bank and use of ‘inventive’ accounting methods to pad up the financial position.

Amidst these claims, investigations reveal mounting discontent.

Some staff is very appalled by the MD’s decision to use the Bank’s money to incentivize some officers even after the Bank’s appraisal and promotional processes had rewarded well-performing staff.

What is causing the rage is the lack of transparency and level playing field around the chosen staff and the perception that MD is the unduly rewarding favored staff.

In addition, the attempt by the MD to antagonize the Chairman of the Staff Union and undermine the Union is making most staff more anxious.

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They cite a recent query to the Union Chairman as mere harassment. In fact, reports indicating that the MD travels with some staff to Rural Banks and presents them as Staff Representatives has incensed most staff.

This reporter understands that the Bank of Ghana has found it prudent and is still investigating the issues in the petition sent by George Essien.

In spite of the promise by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, to this reporter, to investigate the issues outlined in the named petition, it is surprising that a request for an extension for the MD was sent to the Bank of Ghana without fully providing feedback to staff on the outcome if indeed it did happen.

Until the Bank of Ghana exhausts the process of investigation, the uneasy calm will simmer.

It only remains to be seen how this ticking bomb will explode or be safely detonated when the decision of the Bank of Ghana on the request for extension is made known.

For now, disgust and rage will continue.

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