For the past two years the banking sector continues to be characterized by a number of stealing and other financial practices that are inimical to the viability of the Liberian economy.
Considering the trust that thousands of customers continue to have in Liberia’s banking system, it was very mind-troubling for such criminal activities to engulf the banking sector. Most discouragingly from all indications, these stealing are reportedly organized and coordinated from within, owing to the fact that criminals act on information provided by insiders.
We are of the fervent belief that from the way we see things, no rational man or woman may want to accept that out of a blue sky, a criminal would make a “break” in any bank without any internal coordination- it is obviously not possible. This is why, we think the Central Bank of Liberia must intervene and act drastically to save the image of the banking sector in Liberia.
Our call comes amidst the recent burglaries at ECOBANK and First International Bank or FIB in which thousands of people’s money were illegally taken away by individuals claiming to be employees and other criminals. Most shocking to us is the fact that an internationally recognized bank like ECOBANK would allow itself to be continuously troubled by such criminal situation without instituting mechanisms in the interest of its many customers.
We are even wondering whether it is because of insurance benefits (i.e, whenever these crimes occurred at its branches or central office, replenishment are made by its insurers) that the management continues to be lackadaisical.
As the regulatory arm of the Government of Liberia on money and banking, the Central Bank is challenged to go beyond just mere investigation to verify whether or not these robberies are implemented by outsiders in collaboration with insiders.
While it is true that these stolen sums of money are always replaced by insurers, our concern is the negative image it portrays of the Liberian banking sector, especially for an internationally situated intuition like ECOBANK with which many of us in Liberia do business. We also believe that it very important for the Central Bank of Liberia to study and act on the top management situation, wherein heads of all banking institution in Liberia must be Liberians.
While we and other well-meaning Liberians may not want to harbor malice against our brothers and sisters from other regions of Africa, may we also say that just as we are suggesting to the CBL, the same is also being done in many countries of the continent, including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, among others, wherein nationals of these countries serve as General Managers, Managing Directors, etc., etc. of the various banks.
It would further be very foolhardy for anyone, anywhere on earth to believe that there are no capable Liberians at the highest level of financial management, including money and banking to head banking institutions in Liberia. The Central Bank of Liberia must think about all of these suggestions and act urgently to save the Liberian banking sector.