Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shake-up at Cooperative Bank of Oromia

Though the suspension letter issued,  three of the pink-slipped individuals are out of the country….

This week saw a major shake-up at the Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO), a stellar private bank, which for two years in a row ranked third in annual profit and shareholder return in spite of joining the industry late.
The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the regulatory body of the financial sector, on Wednesday issued a letter of suspension to six individuals in the CBO's top leadership. 
Accused of mismanagement of the bank’s foreign exchange operations are Abera Deressa (PhD), Board Chairman, Tadesse Meskela, Vice Board Chairman, Wondimagegnehu Negera, President, Abebe Tilahun and Tollosa Beyene, VPs for Resources and Service Management, and Core Services Management, respectively and  Bantayehu Kebede, Director of International Banking Division.
The central bank is still probing into the alleged foreign currency mismanagement that the suspended officials have been accused of.
Before NBE suspended the top officials, three of the pink-slipped individuals in the bank's top leadership (Abera, Wondimagegnehu and Tadesse) were already out of the country, The Reporter has learnt.
According to sources, Tadesse had resigned before the suspension letter was issued. But no detailed information was obtained as to why he quit his board membership position.
NBE reportedly issued the letter this week in connection with what sources said was in violation with the foreign currency trade regulation. However, The Reporter was unable to establish an official confirmation from the central bank as to what led the regulatory body to write the suspension letter.
Subsequently, in an extraordinary meeting held on September 22, the remaining members of the board of CBO elected a new acting chairman and vice chair and appointed a new acting president and two acting VPs.
In that regard, Belachew Hurisa will serve as acting board chairman and Dagnachew Shiferaw will be his deputy. Similarly, the board has installed Muluneh Disasa as acting president while Fayera Ejeta and Gizaw Haile will serve as acting VPs for Resource and Service Management and Core and Relationship Management, respectively. Whereas, Fitsum Hawas will be acting head of the bank's International Banking Division. Fitsum was bank's Import-Export Department Head.
Belachew Hurrissa is an agricultural economist with 30-year experience in the livestock industry and is Board Chairman of Elimtu Integrated SC while Muluneh Disasa was manager of the Finfine Branch of CBO before his latest appointment.
Fayera was the head of Resource Management and Service while Gizaw has been responsible for Customers’ Account Service as well as Coordinator of Branch Services.
CBO has managed some 475.6 million birr before tax in profit in 2013/14 and the latest financial report of the bank has indicated that it amassed some 602 million birr profit for 2014/15 fiscal year.
However, the highest portion of bank’s 2013/14 profit was earned from international banking service.
It is not the the first time when top bank officials were dismissed in connection with foreign currency exchange mismanagement. A few years ago, Leykun Berhanu, the then president of Awash International Bank and Mitiku Abeshu, vice president were dismissed and charged with foreign exchange trade mismanagement.    Source ( Reporter


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