Sunday, October 25, 2020

Bank of Botswana blocks appointment of Barclays MD

The Bank of Botswana (BoB) this week intervened in the ongoing Barclays Bank of Botswana saga by rejecting the biggest commercial bank appointment of Usman Ahmed as its acting Managing Director, following the resignation of Thuli Johnson.

This has been confirmed by the Central Bank’s spokesperson, Chepete Chepete.
“The bank (Barclays) had suggested someone from Dubai to take over from Johnson but we decided against that because the principle is that it is high time that top positions be taken by Batswana,” Chepete told the Sunday Standard on Friday.

The central bank is for the localisation of all commercial bank’s top posts.
On Friday, Barclays Bank released a press statement saying Wilfred Mpai, the bank’s current Finance Director ‘will be the acting managing director in Botswana for a maximum period of six months, after which Barclays Bank of Botswana Limited will have identified a substantive managing director’.

The announcement comes as a surprise as on Wednesday the bank had stated that Ahmed, one of its board members in Botswana, would take over from Thuli Johnson who resigned last week. But his candidature was rejected by the Central Bank.

Johnson’s decision to quit though unknown comes after numerous allegations made against the bank’s top officials in relation to credit card fraud and favouritism.

Barclays said the newly appointed acting managing director will be given all the support by the board.

Mpai is expected to report to Ahmed, who himself is heading commercial banking for Barclays Africa.
This is not the first time that the central bank raised concerns about localisation in the local banking industry. The issue has been raised with Standard Chartered Bank of Botswana some four years.

Among the top four banks only the unlisted Stanbic Botswana, and listed ones First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) and Barclays have localised their chief executive positions.

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