Official activities behind the counter were nearly brought to a halt at the Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB) on Friday 23rd September 2022 when news broke out that the Company Secretary and Legal Adviser of the bank, Margaret A.L. Davies, has had her contract of employment terminated. Eyewitnesses say her termination is well overdue, as some well-thinking staff demonstrated this with thumbs up to each other, whilst others were visiting officers and tellers celebrating the good news that they have been long awaiting.
However, sources say Mrs. Davies’ sack came as a surprise to two of the bank’s managers, who were busy holding pocket meetings seeking ways and means to save their necks for an unforeseen calamity that may soon befall them.
Lawyer Davies’ sack came at a time the Central Bank Governor, Professor Kelfala M. Kallon, had ordered the Rokel Bank Board, in his letter dated 12th September 2022, to review the Report of the special investigations committee (SIC) formed to investigate allegations of sexual harassment, the legal opinion of the Central Bank’s Legal Advisory Department, and the Rokel Commercial Bank’s Policies and Procedures, as well as all complaints that have been lodged to it by the sacked Company Secretary and Legal Adviser and her colleagues, about workplace intimidation. The Bank Governor had directed that the findings and recommendations from that review must be submitted to him not later than Close-of-Business on Friday, 30th September 2022.
Whilst he’s awaiting the Board’s final decision, Governor Kallon must have now realized that the top-most body at the Rokel Bank cannot be toyed with, which is why it has clearly sent a message to the Central Bank that its previous stand cannot be overturned.
The Central Bank Governor had dissolved the Special Investigation Committee (SIC), which had not found any case of sexual harassment against the Managing Director of the RCBank. The Governor recently wrote that he will reject the report of the SIC and that the Board should investigate the Managing Director again.
In his letter dated 18th July 2022, the Bank Governor stated the opinion of the Central Bank’s Legal Affairs Department and directed the RCBank Board to review both the report of the Special Investigative Committee (SIC) of the (RCBank] Board and the BSL’s LAD Legal opinion, as well as RCB’s corporate governance policies to come to a definitive conclusion about the alleged sexual harassment and suggest disciplinary measures, if necessary. Perhaps the Board’s disciplinary action has already been taken against the Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Margaret Davies, who seems to enjoy protection from the Central Bank Governor.
The Board’s earlier reply dated 25th July 2022, noted six key issues, namely: “That a Fit and Proper (FPP) reassessment of the Managing Director (MD) falls within the jurisdiction of the BSL, not the RCB Board; That the opinion of the BSL’S LAD is one-sided, and that the Board “stands by the final report of the SIC”, which found no evidence of sexual harassment by the MD; That the issue of sexual harassment was not for the Board to decide, but a court of competent jurisdiction; That the Board, through the Ministry of Finance, would seek the Attorney General’s legal opinion on the matter; that the Bank Governor should have copied the Minister of Finance in his letter; and That the Board finds the Governor’s circulation of the letter beyond the SIC, disturbing, because it could have triggered its leak to the public.”
This reply seems not to have gone down well with the Central Bank Governor, who perhaps has come to the realization that the Rokel Bank Board cannot be arm-twisted. (Investigations Continue)