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Friday,August 14,2020 21:16 PM

Ex-bank boss awarded sh1b over dismissal

By Michael Odeng

Added 1st August 2020 01:15 PM

Makoko was dismissed on allegations of failure in oversight over the governance and compliance requirements.

Ex-bank boss awarded sh1b over dismissal

Makoko said the bank reduced her rating in terms of performance without explanation, yet she had consistently excelled

Makoko was dismissed on allegations of failure in oversight over the governance and compliance requirements.

COURT

The Industrial Court has awarded former Standard Chartered Bank employee Grace Tibihikirra Makoko, sh1b in damages.

The bank's former head of global markets in East Africa, Makoko, was awarded the money over wrongful termination after 20 years of service.

The court also directed the bank to pay Makoko $108,750 (about sh400m) in unvested shares, which she was entitled to, but had not been paid before her termination.

In addition, Makoko was given 15% interest on all monetary awards, per year, from the date of the judgement, until the money is paid in full.

On May 18, 2015, Makoko was dismissed on allegations of failure in oversight over the governance and compliance requirements.

The act, the banks said, resulted in two failed audits in financial markets in Uganda and Tanzania in the first half of 2014.

It also led to a rating of improvement required in the Kenya audit in the last quarter of the same year.

She had also been dismissed over allegations of failure to meet the set revenue targets for the first quarter of 2015.

The bank also said she had failed to demonstrate requisite leadership to the teams in financial markets, leading to the shortcomings.

Following her dismissal, Makoko made a formal demand for reinstatement, which was ignored by the bank's management.

She reported the matter to the labour ministry.

The ministry referred her to the Industrial Court for legal redress. In a ruling delivered recently, Chief Judge Asaph Ruhinda Ntengye and Justice Linda Lillian Tumusiime declared that Makoko was unlawfully dismissed from her job.

Also on the panel were Rose Gidongo, Edison Han Mavunwa and Fidal Ebyau, the representatives of workers, employers and an independent member respectively.

"The bank did not follow the proper procedure of the law and its human resource manual policy, which amounted to unlawful termination," Tumusiime said.

The ruling was made in the presence of Makoko's lawyers Ted Ssempebwa and Patrick Mugalula from Katende, Ssempebwa and Company Advocates.

Moses Segawa of Sebalu and Lule Advocates represented the bank.

However, efforts to get a comment from Makoko's lawyers were futile, as repeated calls to their known phone numbers went unanswered.

However, Makoko told New Vision she still has good relationship with her former employer.

"It is unfortunate; the incident happened out of Uganda."

The court found that the bank did not establish any system of contentious assessment during Makoko's employment.

Court records indicate that assessments are being done in May and December.

The court also ruled that Makoko's contract was terminated without according her a fair hearing to address the allegations levelled against her.

The judges were also dissatisfied with the way Makoko had been treated given the seniority and period she had worked with the bank.

Bank's case

In reply, the bank maintained that Makoko was accorded an opportunity to be heard before termination despite her poor performance.

The bank also claimed that Makoko had been paid and given terminal benefits in accordance with her contract and the Employment Act.

It further contended that it could not reinstate Makoko due to her poor performance and broken work relationship with her colleagues.

Makoko's case

Makoko, according to court documents, indicated that due to her stellar performance over the years, she rose through the bank's ranks to her recent posting on international assignment.

She, however, stated that due to internal intrigue, strategies were crafted to discredit her work.

"I had consistently received excellent full-year appraisals for my performance. However, without explanation, the bank reduced my rating in terms of performance," she contended.

In respect to failed audits in Uganda and Tanzania, Makoko said there was no correlative sanctioning of the responsible executive officers, who, instead, received bonuses.

She also revealed that she was offered an option of resignation or placement on a performance improvement plan (PIP).

Although she accepted to be placed on PIP, the bank breached the contract.

She asserted that the procedures prescribed by the bank's human resource policy in regard to performance review and termination were flouted.

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