The East African Development Bank (EADB) board is investigating the institution’s chief executive, Ms Vivienne Yeda Apopo, over alleged mismanagement following demands by some employees who want her services be “terminated immediately”.
Ms Apopo, a Master’s degree holder in Business Administration, has led the regional bank for seven years, having been appointed as the director general in 2009.
According to an article in Uganda’s Daily Monitor, the whistleblowers note in the dossier to the board that whereas Ms Apopo has done a good job in recovering loans, her repeated failure and, in some cases, excessive delay in approving viable projects recommended by senior management, have hindered the bank from investing in lucrative ventures.
“We, a group of staff at EADB, write to express our concern over the manner in which the bank is being run under the leadership of Ms Viviene Yeda. We bring to the attention of the concerned parties requesting that her services as director general at EADB be terminated immediately…,” the petition also copied to Kenya’s Treasury Principal Secretary, Mr Kamau Thugge, reads in part.
The subordinates accused the chief executive of cherry-picking and making funding available for mainly projects submitted by her home country, Kenya, and questioned her motive in allegedly sitting on projects submitted by other countries.
Ms Apopo declined to discuss the allegations raised against her, referring all inquiries by the newspaper instead to Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary in Uganda’s Finance ministry, her direct supervisor.
Mr Muhakanizi confirmed to Daily Monitor that the global audit firm Ernest & Young, on the recommendation of the board of EADB on which he sits, is investigating the claims and they expect the findings to be submitted “in two to three months”.
The probe report, he said, will determine the board’s next course of action.
The EADB was restructured in 2011 following a litany of managerial and operational problems, and Ms Yeda’s success in recovering unpaid loans returned the institution to profitability.
But the bank is not making as much money as it should because of constrained lending, according to the complaining staff members.
“Much as she might have been good at cleaning up the book and recovering the written off loan (which accounts for a bigger percentage of the profit the bank has been reporting) she does not have the will and capacity to grow the loan book,” the paper quoted the dossier that now constitutes the basis for the ongoing inquiries as reading.
The EADB board of directors have held back-to-back meeting in Kampala this year to critically examine the bank’s activities and performance.
n their letter, which the Daily Monitor says it has seen, the concerned staff said some designed bank projects have very high social and development impacts and economic dividends yet the chief executive declined to approve most of them.
“The bank is currently highly capitalised with regular share capital contributions from the member states. The bank has also been able to attract several lines of credits from the likes of African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, BADEA, OPEC, among others,” reads the dossier.
It adds: “However, out of the bank’s total assets of $381m (Shs1 trillion), only $165m (Shs555b) has been utilised to lend to projects. The balance of $216m (Shs727.5b) has been placed as short term deposits in commercial banks.”
The complainants further claim that over the last three years, projects valued at more than $200m (Shs673b), most of them judged to be viable, have been rejected and subsequently, removed from the bank’s pipeline on the chief executive’s instructions.