In DepthColumnsThierry Tanoh wins cases...


Posted on Thursday, 05 March 2015 17:49

Thierry Tanoh wins cases...

The legal battles related to Thierry Tanoh's sacking in 2014 are set to continue at international tribunals.

In a twist to a tale Ecobank had hoped was consigned to the past, a former chief executive of the bank, Thierry Tanoh, won two court victories against his former employer in West African jurisdictions in early 2015.

The contract expressly provides that all disputes shall be settled by international arbitration in London

Tanoh, relieved of his duties in July 2014, was awarded $15m in damages for defamation from the commercial court in Abidjan and $11.6m by a court in Lomé, where he filed a case for wrongful dismissal.

The bank is appealing both cases. It is unlikely that the matter will end there. Rather, things might get messy.

Ecobank's response has been twofold.

First, it says these courts have no jurisdiction: "The [employment] contract expressly provides that all disputes shall be settled by international arbitration in London by an arbitrator appointed by the president of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris."

Ecobank is also pursuing legal action of its own, saying it has lodged a criminal complaint against Tanoh over computer files it says he deleted on his departure, as well as official papers that have gone missing.

Tanoh denies all wrongdoing.

The West African lender, in which Qatar's QNB and South Africa's Nedbank bought large stakes last year, had hoped to spend 2015 consolidating its position rather than fighting in court. ●


Nicholas Norbrook

Nicholas Norbrook

Nicholas Norbrook is Managing Editor of The Africa Report, helping to set up the magazine in 2005. He has been a producer for Radio France International, and has lived and worked in West Africa. In 2011 he won the Diageo Business Reporting award for Journalist of the Year.

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