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Intercontinental Bank Sacks 1,500 Workers

By Muyiwa Adeyemi
19 December 2009   |   1:53 am
BARLEY a week to the Christmas, Intercontinental Bank Plc yesterday gave unusual gifts to 1,500 members of its staff: "Letter of disengagement from the bank. The sack letters were served to the affected staff around 3 p.m. yesterday, changing the atmosphere in the financial institution's banking hall throughout the country to that of shock and disbelief. Those affected were from the position of manager to executive banker level. The bank is said to have about 5,000 work force nationwide. The Guardian's investigation revealed that in its over 300 branches nationwide, five workers from each branch had their appointment terminated. They were to be paid three months basic salary irrespective of number of years they have served the bank.

The sack, which came just two days after their salaries were paid has been hanging in the air for about three months when the new management of the bank had alleged leakage of sensitive information about a transaction by the new Managing Director of the bank Mr. Lai Mahmud Alabi alleged to have granted a waiver of N31billion to some influential Nigerians, the amount higher than the capital base of the bank by its 2005 consolidation.

The bank had also about two weeks ago laid off senior officers from the positions of General Manager (GM), Assistant General Manager (AGM) and Deputy General Manager (DGM) up to senior managers.

Investigation further revealed that the new management decided not to paste names of affected staff on the bank board to conceal the total number of people that were laid off but rather decided to dispatch names to each branch as it affected them.

Also, their salaries had about three months ago been cut down by 30 per cent.

A competent source last night told The Guardian that the new management has requested from each branch manager to submit the name of at least five members of staff in their respective departments for the sack. Three managers were said to have declined to sacrifice any of their junior ones but two of them did not survive the onslaught.

It was also learnt that some managers who complied were not spared in the exercise.

One of the aggrieved staff who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity confirmed that he received his letter at about 3 p.m.

He said that they were just disengaged from the bank even as they did not give them any particular reason. Another affected worker who was contacted on phone last night was still in a state of shock as he betrayed his emotions while confirming to The Guardian that he was affected by the exercise. The employee who worked at the headquarters of the bank alleged that the exercise was targeted at some staff suspected to have any link with the former MD of the bank Erastus Akingbola.

The sacking of 1,500 employees of the Intercontinental Bank came just two days ago when the United Bank for Africa (UBA) also sacked about 2,000 of its workforce.

Before now, there has been speculation that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks in the country to reduce their work force or cut down on staff salaries.