Business News of Thursday, 12 March 2015
Republic bank of Trinidad and Tobago has settled the one million Ghana cedi fine charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for breaching SEC’s takeover code.
SEC early this week cleared Republic Bank on allegations of insider trading, but ordered the bank to pay one million Ghana cedis as settlement for breaching SEC’s takeover code.
According to SEC, though the breach was unintended its investigations revealed that Republic bank breached Rules 4.1, 4.2 (a) and 4.3 of the Takeover Code. But Republic bank in a press statement stated that ‘in an effort to conclude the matter, and without any admission of wrong doing on its part, it has decided not to contest the ruling and has agreed to make full settlement as proposed by SEC’.
The statement added that it has fully paid the one million cedis. ‘Full payment has been made today’. According to Robert Le Hunte, Director, Africa Operations of Republic Bank, the bank is satisfied that SEC has cleared it of insider trading and it hopes the findings will bring closure to all allegations of insider trading.
“We have remained committed to following due process since our initial investment in HFC Bank and we hope that with the conclusion of this matter that all interested parties will move swiftly toward concluding the long outstanding mandatory takeover process (MTO) – the internationally recognized process that gives shareholders, the ultimate owners of the company, the opportunity to make a decision on their shares and the future direction of the company.”
He adds that ‘Republic Bank affirms that all its actions have been based on its understanding of rules and regulations of the regulatory bodies’. It will be recalled that allegations of insider trading against Republic bank surfaced last year during Republic bank’s acquisition of HFC shares held by the Union Bank of Nigeria.
HFC Bank had on May 23, 2014 also sued the Republic Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for what it alleged were breaches of the SEC Code on Takeovers & Mergers in Republic Bank’s attempt to do a mandatory takeover of HFC Bank by purchasing of HFC shares held by the Union Bank of Nigeria.
In January this year two independent members of the Board of Directors of HFC Bank also called on SEC to investigate allegations of insider trading against Republic Bank.
Another shareholder also petitioned SEC to investigate the bank on allegations of insider trading following which the commission cleared it of insider trading and fined it one million cedis for breaching the takeover code.