For over a year, top echelons of Bank of Industry, BOI, have been waging war in the boardroom, but the courtroom is becoming the next battleground as a Principal Manager, and an Acting General Manager, who were sacked by the bank’s Managing Director, Rasheed Olaoluwa, have dragged him before National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos.
Before now, the bank’s headquarters at Broad Street in Lagos was the only battlefield of the BOI’s MD, Olaoluwa, his sympathisers within the bank, and some aggrieved staff, OrijoReporter once reported.
Since Olaoluwa became the MD May 2014, his tenure has been controversial as well as colourful. The latest controversy rocking the bank is that the MD was dragged to the National Industrial Court on the allegation of wrongful dismissal by two top staff, a Principal Manager, Rekiyat Zubair and a former AGM, Sonny Ekedayen.
Sources told OrijoReporter that the case came up for hearing this Tuesday, and Justice Amadi who is trying it, ordered that all parties should maintain the status quo, implying that Zubair, a former staff of NTA and Ekedayen should be reinstated.
Consequently, it was adjourned till February 3, 2016.
It was gathered that dramatic scene ensued at BOI’s office on Wednesday when Zubair attempted to enter her office but met it under lock and key. It was said that she flew into rage and threatened to get back to the judge.
In his own case, Ekedayen was an AGM, and headed Internal Control and Audit before Olaoluwa relived him of his post, and redeployed him to Ibadan after President Muhammadu Buhari announced the dissolution of boards of federal Parastatals, Agencies and Institutions in July.
His redeployment and the demotion of two other AGMs, Akinsola Adetokumbo and Balarabe Hassan to Principal Managers, and the alleged forceful resignation of five staff of Igbo extraction, including a lady who was on maternity leave by the MD, drove a wedge between him and his sympathisers on one side, and some aggrieved staff.
Sources told OrijoReporter that the MD rubbed salt into the wound of aggrieved staff when he made Mike Esoto who he brought into the bank as technical adviser an AGM, and divisional head of Management Services after the dissolution of the board.
Similarly, his appointment of Taiwo Kolawole, another greenhorn in the bank as an AGM and Chief Finance Operation, and his nephew, one Gbolahan as head of Real Treasury and Operations after displacing the occupiers of the offices twisted the knife in some staff’s wound.
It was gathered that an Executive Director, Mohammed Alkali recently resigned after he became disenchanted with the MD’s leadership style.
Impeccable sources told OrijoReporter that after Olaoluwa became BOI’s MD discord has gained sway, and the bank is full of contrasts and oppositions, due to the combined action of both parties.
Scandals have been attached to Rasheed Olaoluwa’s name. It was alleged that he and his sympathisers are involved in financial shenanigans, and he secretly sold the assets of the bank, and also obtained for himself illegal financial advantage in several underhand dealings .
In a petitions made available to OrijoReporter, an NGO, Advocacy for Radical Change (AFRC), petitioned the presidency demanding for the prosecution of BOI’s MD, Rasheed Olaoluwa by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Federal Character Commission.
The petition read in part: “Outside the N400 Million Commission earned by BGL Security in the sales of WAMCO Shares (makers of Peak Milk), the Chief Executive was alleged to have also benefitted from an underhand deal amounting to about N1.0 billion in the WAMCO transaction.
“On the appointment saga! It was sad to note that two previously appointed acting AGMs of the institution were demoted to Principal Managers by the MD just few months after he assumed office. The two gentlemen who had put in over 20 years of service to the Bank were actually substituted by Rasheed’s cronies who are currently manning the two most sensitive portfolios in the Bank: Management Services (the control room of all the bank’s assets) and the Chief Finance Officer (Control Unit of all financial operations).
“In a country where 70 percent of Nigerians are living below poverty line and struggling entrepreneurs are in need of financial support, an MD who was appointed to drive industrial empowerment would have the gut to procure a G-Wagon estimated to cost over N40.0 Million! Even if that was his entitlement, can’t he emulate Mr. President as a matter of conscience?
“Rasheed Olaoluwa was appointed in May 2014, but out of greed and sheer neglect of professional ethics, insisted that he and his self-employed staff must benefit from the productivity allowance of 2013. Productivity Allowance is a portion of the audited annual profit usually set aside to compensate staff for the previous year’s performance.
“Most disturbing is the fact that those who actually worked in 2013, but had left the bank on the basis of retirement before the declaration of the 2013 Annual Profit, were denied this monetary incentive against existing practice.
“The key questions we are asking are as follows: Who did Rasheed Olaoluwa sold BOI’s WAMCO Shares to? Who are those buying up the bank’s shares and its choice properties? Why are these assets or properties not tendered in two national dailies as required of a Public Sector Agency? Why the PANIC SALES? Were some of these sensitive decisions collectively agreed by the Executive Management Team and endorsed by the Board (none in place for now anyway)?”
Published right is a copy of a memo about Olaoluwa’s approval of debt repayments running into several millions to the personal accounts of staff he recruited from UBA where he used to be an Executive Director after they claimed they owed their previous employer (click on document to view).
According to inside sources, the approval was not in order, the procedure for such is to pay into the account of their creditor(UBA) rather than paying into individual’s account but Olaoluwa overruled the recommendation of Ekedayen who was then the Internal Control and Audit head.
It was said that he made another controversial approval recently when he approved a whopping sum of N54m for the bank’s end of the year party held last Saturday at Eko Hotels.
Attempts made by our correspondent to get the official position of Bank of Industry(BOI) on the crisis rocking the bank from the head of Corporate Affair, Hadiza Olaosebikan, and the allegations leveled against the MD, Rasheed Olaoluwa, via text messages and phone-calls ran into brick-wall as at the time of publication.