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Drive sound, healthy governance environment in banks, Ecobank boss tells auditors

As part fresh drive to stem potential bank failure and rising nonperforming loans (NPLs) crisis, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Charles Kie, has advised audit executives of financial institutions to rely on their independence and unfettered access in banks to institute sound and healthy corporate governance structure.

In his paper titled: ‘The Role of Audit in Promoting Good Corporate Governance in the Financial Services Industry’, at the 39th quarterly general meeting of the association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), Kie warned that the revelation by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) that another bank failure is imminent in the country due to issues bordering on corporate governance culture and weak internal control must be tracked very well by auditors.

He however observed that abuses at the executive suites and governance failures have led to unprecedented changes in regulatory frameworks and how businesses are controlled and directed locally and globally.

According to him, “The expectations are high and you must justify the confidence reposed on you by investors and other stakeholders.

“The social cost of banking crisis is difficult to estimate, but the public funds used to bail out distressed banks run into billions of naira. The time to act is now,” he said.

While arguing that that even though internal auditors are increasingly being criticised for their effectiveness in driving systems control and corporate governance, he charged them to  always stand their grounds when the chips are down in terms of integrity and professionalism.