The board of Pan African Bank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated plc (ETI) has finally recognised the role its former chairman, Kolapo Lawson played in projecting the bank’s good corporate governance principles through whistle blowing.
In 2013, the Ecobank Group was plunged into what was generally perceived as governance crisis. In order to ensure that the Ecobank brand was not further damaged, Lawson had decided to step down as the chairman of the Ecobank Group but on the condition that certain matters which he had brought to the attention of the board were fully investigated by independent consultants/auditors.
But apparently realizing that the board was not going to take any serious steps following the investigations, Lawson decided to institute a court case in Nigeria against the Boards of both Ecobank Transnational and Ecobank Nigeria.
He subsequently agreed to an out of court settlement.
Both parties have now settled out of court and ETI has made a gratuitous payment to Lawson which cover the cost the former chairman incurred in filing and prosecuting the suit and final settlement of claims he made in the suits, according to documents.
A letter to Lawson by ETI had read, “the board of ETI recognizes the duty that you (Lawson) have performed in bringing these allegations to light. We wish to note that ETI has no grievance or compliant against your good self in respect of your conduct as the chairman of the board and acknowledges the valued services rendered by you and your family to ETI on various capacities in the past 30 years.
“Without any admission of liability, ETI recognizes your service by making a gratuitous payment to you to cover cost you incurred in filing and prosecuting the suits and in full and final settlement of and any claims in the suits and any future claims against ETI, Ecobank Nigeria Limited (ENI), or myself on the basis of, or relating to the subject-matter of the suits.
“We thank you for your contribution to ETI and wish you all the best in your future endeavours,” states the letter signed by Emmanuel Ikazoboh, chairman, board Ecobank.
Lawson, who acknowledged receipt of the funds referred to in the settlement agreement and side letters with respect to the suit, confirmed that the obligations in the settlement agreement have been fulfilled and the case can be considered closed.
“I wish to note in particular your (Ikazoboh) personal intervention on this matter and to state that it was my sensing of your integrity and commitment to fair play that convinced me to settle the matter on the terms agreed.”