Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), which until July this year was wholly owned by government, has sent four of its senior managers, including former chief executive officer (CEO) Ian Bonongwe, on an indefinite suspension.
The four have also been ordered not to visit any of the bank’s premises, according to communication The Nation has seen.
In a letter dated November 10 2015 signed by MSB head of human resources Richard Kunjawa, the bank has advised all its staff about the suspension of the four.
Bonongwe, who was removed from his position as the bank’s CEO to become a member of the Integration Management Office—the team set to oversee the amalgamation of FDH Bank and MSB, has been suspended alongside financial controller James Salaka, head of credit George Sibale and senior treasury and international trade manager Million Hera.
In the letter, Kunjawa said the four were suspended effective November 6 2015 and did not indicate for how long or the reasons behind the suspension.
Reads the letter in part: “Management wishes to advise all members of staff that the following members of staff have been suspended from duties effective Friday November 6 2015.
“As such, they are not allowed to have access to the banks premises to conduct business transaction on behalf of the Malawi Savings Bank. Should there be any request for information from the above members, such request should be directed to acting CEO [Ted Chanza].”
Apart from Bonongwe, the three—Salaka, Sibale and Hera—were already on forced leave.
FDH Financial Holdings Limited chief executive officer Thom Mpinganjira, whose institution bought 75 percent government shares in July this year in a controversial and protracted transaction, said he could not comment on the development.
In a brief e-mail response, Mpinganjira said: “To all your questions, my answer is as follows: ‘No Comment’.”
However, a source at the bank says the new management has taken action against the four following alleged mismanagement of loans and other services that led to MSB accumulating toxic loans in the past six years.
Said the source: “Interestingly, all the matters that the new management are querying the bank managers took place before FDH took over management of MSB. When they were taking over the bank, it had a clean slate and it is surprising that people are being punished now.”
Malawi government sold 75 percent of its shares in MSB to FDH Financial Holdings, owners of FDH Bank.