Fresh Details on Bank ABC Boss Exit

Former BancABC Zimbabwe managing director Lance Mambondiani is said to have violated policies relating to the procurement of vendors where prices are said to have been inflated, Business Times heard this week.

Former BancABC Zimbabwe managing director Lance Mambondiani is said to have violated policies relating to the procurement of vendors where prices are said to have been inflated, Business Times heard

The banker left the financial institution after nearly four years at the helm.

It is also understood that Mambondiani, who was forced to resign last week immediately after the Albert Katsande-led board engaged an independent external firm to begin “multipoint” investigations into his alleged malpractices, is also being accused of violating the bank’s policies and procedures including those related to governance breaches and management delinquency, among a number of his personal actions.

The board has since engaged an independent outside investigating firm to probe Mambondiani’s conduct relating to alleged malpractices.

This is contrary to rumours swirling in the market that Mambondiani had given BancABC Zimbabwe notice to leave the institution in three months’ time following a buzz that a ‘hostile” takeover bid was tabled by a new investor to acquire Atlas Mara’s stake in the institution.

There is also no transaction in respect to the disposal of BancABC Zimbabwe had been agreed, according to well-placed sources at BancABC who spoke to Business Times yesterday.

Investigations by this publication this week revealed that as soon as the board engaged an independent outside investigator, Mambondiani resigned on February 22, two days after he was placed on forced leave.

Also, an Atlas Mara representative flew into Zimbabwe a few days ago, to also look into the matter, and report back to the shareholders.

“Contrary to the narrative in the market that points to the managing director (Lance Mambondiani) and other members of executive management, resigning because of  an impending disposal of BancABC Zimbabwe, the MD was sent on forced leave and resigned two days after an external firm was engaged to conduct an investigation into his malpractices which were brought to the attention of the board by whistle blowers,” a source at BancABC Zimbabwe, who preferred anonymity said this week.

He added: “These (accusations being investigated) include violating the bank’s policies and procedures those related to procurement of service providers who were engaged without following proper procedures for his (Mambondiani)’s interests, abuse of the bank’s holiday homes and lodges at resorts centres in Kariba and Nyanga, banking facilities and abuse of the bank’s assets including vehicles, governance breaches and management delinquency, among a number of improper personal actions.”

It is understood that Mambondiani was placed on forced leave on February 20, 2023  but proceeded to tender his resignation two days later with Vander Mutenga, who was the substantive finance director, stepping in as acting managing director.

“It is interesting that he [Mambondiani] rushed to resign once he realised he was under investigation. One wonders what he was running away from,” the source at BanABC said yesterday.

Efforts to get an official comment from board chairman, Katsande, were futile.

Contacted for a comment BancABC Zimbabwe spokesperson, Michael Chiduku, requested for written questions, which was done.

But, Chiduku had not responded by the time of going to print. Subsequent calls drew blanks and his mobile number went unanswered.

Mambondiani told Business Times that he would not comment on the matter.

Investigations this week revealed that the BancABC board was forced to take action after several whistleblowers provided information in respect of Mambondiani’s conduct at the bank.

Consequently, there were growing fears this week that there was a high likelihood of a bank run at BancABC.

It is understood, however, that the scope of the scandal will not result in a bank run, as it was likely to be a drop in the ocean of BancABC’s vast banking system.

A bank run occurs when a large number of customers of a bank or other financial institution withdraw their deposits simultaneously over concerns of the bank’s solvency or a scandal. In extreme cases, the bank’s reserves may not be sufficient to cover the withdrawals.

Many will not be able to access their savings.

This, however, is not the case as Mambondiani’s alleged violations did not have an overall adverse financial impact on the bank, according to our investigations.

We can report today that the BancABC board this week briefed staff of Mambondiani’s departure and current investigations.

The board also assured staff that the bank was still stable, insiders said.

“The board addressed us in a “townhall” briefing which was held this week to announce Mambondiani’s departure and the investigations. The board had a cordial interaction with members of the staff who were reminded to focus on moving forward and strengthening the bank’s position in the market, another source said.

The BancABC board, another source said, was, however, confident that the bank under the leadership of acting MD Mutenga was on course to meeting its strategic objectives as management and the board were geared and looking forward to the bank’s strategic direction after the departure of Mambondiani.

The board indicated that the changes in senior management would not have a heavy effect on the bank’s plans

Business Times Zimbabwe

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