NBC boss: I’m ready to face investigators

Mr Mafuru
National Bank of Commerce (NBC) managing director Lawrence Mafuru was yesterday sent on leave to pave the way for an investigation into alleged management irregularities at the bank. 

The bank’s board of directors said yesterday that they had asked Mr Mafuru to go on leave pending an investigation into the misdeeds, which, however, were not specified. NBC is the third biggest bank in Tanzania.

In his response, Mr Mafuru, who has served in the position for two years, said he was ready for the probe, which, he added, would help build confidence among NBC customers that the bank was being managed in a transparent manner and according to accepted standards.

“I’m very supportive of the investigation into the allegations that have been levelled against me by a whistleblower.

"My conscience is very clear and I hope that after this investigation our customers, shareholders, staff and the public at large will have proven that the bank is managed and run in accordance with the best corporate governance standards,” he said.

Yesterday, the chairman of the NBC board of directors, Dr Mussa Assad, said the board had received allegations of irregularities against the bank’s management.

“NBC is a reputable and trusted bank.  For best practices and good governance, a proper investigation has been initiated on this matter. The board of directors has therefore decided to send Mr Lawrence Mafuru on leave during the investigation, which is expected to be completed soon,” he said.

Dr Assad added, however, that there would be no presumption of guilt against Mr Mafuru or any other executive before the investigation was completed.

“Let me assure you that we have a very professional leadership team which operates and executes their duties with the highest level of integrity with the sole purpose of serving our customers, both internal and external and meeting business objectives,” he said.

Mr Mafuru was appointed managing director of one of the largest financial service providers in Tanzania in June 2010, succeeding Mr Christo de Vries from South Africa.  He previously served as the bank’s head of treasury.

NBC is one of the oldest banks in Tanzania, tracing its origins to 1967 when the government nationalised financial institutions, including banks, before the banking industry was deregulated in 1991.

In 1997, NBC was split into three separate entities – NBC Holding Corporation, National Microfinance Bank (NMB) and NBC (1997) Limited.

In 2000, South Africa’s Absa Group Limited acquired a majority stake in NBC (1997) Limited. The government retained 30 per cent shareholding and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, took a 15 per cent stake.
Source: The Citizen,http://www.thecitizen.co.tz
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