Standard Chartered Bank Rtd. Vice Chairman Jets in to Appease Aggrieved Local Staff

By Alpha Good Kamara

In a surprising turn of events, Lamin Manjang, the former Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, has flown into Sierra Leone amidst allegations of orchestrating an inequitable deal that could adversely affect the bank’s Sierra Leonean employees, many of whom he once worked alongside during his tenure as CEO of the bank.

Having served Standard Chartered Group for over two decades, Manjang held significant leadership positions, including CEO roles in Kenya, East Africa, Oman, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. Just last week, a farewell dinner was held by Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria to commemorate Manjang’s retirement from the Group.

The controversy stems from the bank’s decision to sell its Sierra Leone operations to Access Bank Plc. Employees in Sierra Leone have been advocating for fair terminal benefits in the wake of this transition. Despite assurances from the bank, there has been a lack of substantial action to address these concerns. Interestingly, the Bank of Sierra Leone, the primary regulatory authority overseeing banks in the nation, has granted initial approval for the sale.

A group of 51 concerned bank staff has taken a legal stand, enlisting the services of the law firms OJP Legal and Marrah & Associates. Documents reveal that the High Court of Sierra Leone, under the guidance of Justice Bonnie, has issued an injunction to halt the sale’s completion until the bank provides security amounting to slightly over USD 5,536,550.47, aimed at safeguarding the interests of the affected Sierra Leoneans.

The bank, however, appears reluctant to comply with the court-ordered security payment. Instead, under the direction of Lamin Manjang, it seems to be pushing the staff to accept an evidently unjust arrangement, even as their job security hangs in the balance. A seasoned retired banker familiar with Manjang’s history suggests that this could be a blemish on Manjang’s otherwise respectable career in banking.

Investigations indicate that Manjang’s actions, where he is flown in as a figure of influence, are not unprecedented. In a prior instance, when a similar injunction was issued by the High Court in response to grievances from Sierra Leonean employees Ibrahim Bah and Sulaiman Lumeh, Manjang’s involvement in lobbying Government officials yielded no success. The Government’s refusal to permit corporations to exploit the hardworking Sierra Leoneans has been lauded.

This episode raises questions about the bank’s motivations, revealing a departure driven by self-interest rather than in line with its proclaimed motto of being “Here for Good.” Notably, the Chairman of the Board is also a Sierra Leonean, fueling expectations that he would champion the rights of young, diligent Sierra Leoneans.

With a legacy spanning 129 years of service to Sierra Leone, Standard Chartered Bank’s exit should ideally be marked by an amicable departure, echoing its motto of leaving “Here for Good” while genuinely advocating for equitable treatment.


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