In a renewed commitment to aggressively restructure the virtually collapsed Akwa Savings and Loans Limited and reposition it for global competitiveness, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Ebong Bassey, says he has disengaged about forty (40) staff of the bank and also announced plans to sack more than 50 staff soon, while making concerted efforts to strengthen the capital base of the bank.
Mr Ebong Bassey who made the disclosure yesterday, while interacting with some journalists in his office, hinted that some staff of the bank who had been indicted by a special panel on various cases of fraudulent practices are already in police custody and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and necessary legal action.
Ebong whose rich background and experience in the banking sector is not in doubt, faulted the previous Management of the bank for deviating from the core mandate and vision of the founding fathers of the struggling bank, thereby running the institution as a charitable or non-profit organization. The CEO further disclosed that his Management team inherited a whooping N1.8billion debt and has within 5 months recovered N1.4 million, while efforts have been intensified to recover all that remain in the hands of debtors.
He reasoned that as soon as external auditors’ report is submitted to him in March this year, he will go ahead and publish names of the debtors in both national and local dailies. According to the MD, a good number of the debtors have written and submitted post-dated chegues to the bank, so as to prevent their names from being published. Mr. Ebong however stressed that no mercy will be shown to any defaulter as he has vowed to recover the loans from the debtors and put the bank back on sound track and not to be distracted by those who not mean well for the bank.
Flanked by some Management Staff of the bank, the Managing Director stated that some branches of the bank will soon be shut down to pave way for an enhanced productivity and quality control. He further disclosed that he has marshaled out plans to usher in new innovations into the bank to attract the federal government’s and World Bank’s Low Income Housing Scheme to the state. He expressed profound gratitude to Governor Udom Emmanuel for his unwavering commitment towards revamping the bank which was at the verge of bankruptcy.
The MD alleged that since he launched out the loan recovery and bank’s restructuring projects, he has faced series of spiritual and physical attacks, character assassination, bad press and name calling, but promised to remain resolute and focused in his determination to rewrite the story of the bank. Ebong Bassey announced plans by the State Government to erect a befitting corporate headquarters for the bank and called on all lovers of progress to support his move to rebrand the Akwa Savings and Loans Limited for the good of the state.
Also present at the media interaction were Mr. Abasiama Idiong, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Mr James Mbom, Financial Controller, Mr. Ubong Uwah, Head of Business Development and Mr. Olyver Ernest, Head of Human Resources and Administration.
It is worth stating that, for some time now, Akwa Savings and Loans has been in the news on account of mismanagement, alleged misconduct by staff, inability to meet up targets and expectations and the resultant distress condition of the state-owned financial institution. This must have informed the reconstitution of the management that brought in the present CEO, Mr. Ebong Bassey whose agenda is anchored on integrity and professionalism.