Africa-Press – Mozambique. A Mozambican court has dismissed the accusation that the former managing director of Standard Bank manipulated the foreign exchange market but found that Adimohanma Chukwuma broke the law by authorising a payment network outside the country.
“The court thus finds it difficult to establish that the applicant, through the trading room, has colluded with various entities to manipulate the foreign exchange market between 9 and 15 May 2021,” indicates a copy of the sentence of the Maputo court to which Lusa had access on Thursday.
On 13 August last year, the Bank of Mozambique announced the opening of “criminal proceedings” against two Standard Bank managers, including Adimohanma Chukwuama, as part of the decision that led to the suspension of that commercial bank from the Mozambican Interbank Forex market for alleged “serious offences” found during an inspection.
The central bank said that the former CEO of Standard Bank committed serious offences, alleging that he deliberately manipulated the forex market and authorised the implementation of an illegal payment network based outside the country (in Frankfurt, Germany).
The central bank demanded fines of 6 million meticals (82,000 euros) for infractions related to alleged manipulation of the forex market and 1.2 million meticais (16,000 euros) for infractions linked to the implementation of a payment network based outside the country. In both decisions the manager was banned from holding company positions and management positions in credit institutions and financial companies in the country for a period of three years.
According to the sentence of the Maputo court, which received Adimohanma Chukwuama’s appeal, there is a lack of evidence for it to be stated that there was “concurrence” of the commercial bank, under the order of the former manager, for the depreciation of the dollar in that period.
“This [depreciation] only occurred due to policies of the central bank which increased the interest rate of the metical, making it more difficult to finance, discouraging imports and especially strengthening the national currency. This framework led to a stronger metical finding a more available foreign currency, which affected not only Standard Bank in the field of daily foreign exchange,” the document said.
Meanwhile, the court upheld the accusation that Adimohanma Chukwuma violated the law by authorising the implementation of a payment network based outside the country, without the authorisation of the central bank.
“The redundancy network installed in Frankfurt violates Article 5, paragraph 2 of Notice 4/GBM/2003[…] The applicant’s liability is gauged from his capacity as managing director,” adds the ruling, which stresses that Adimohanma Chukwuma’s appeal “is unfounded in its entirety”.
Standard Bank was suspended from the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market on 23 June last year after the Bank of Mozambique found alleged “serious infractions” during inspections.
The commercial bank was also required to pay a fine of 290 million meticais (almost four million euros) and a resident inspector was appointed to monitor the institution’s activities.
A month after the suspension, the Bank of Mozambique authorised Standard Bank to carry out foreign exchange activities of currency conversion with its customers, although it remains barred from participating in the Interbank Forex Market.