NDB on collision course

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 4th September, 2012

THE National Development Bank’s board chairman is up in arms with his new political head, Tommy Tomscoll.
The minister for agriculture and livestock last week demanded immediate reports on the bank’s operations, its annual report and details of certain loan deals, including one taken by chairman William Lamur.
Lamur said yesterday: “It is not my personal or NBD’s preferred option to play out our positions in the media.
“However, on this occasion, I am compelled to also now respond in the media.
“I would also like to say that a number of us implicated in the minister’s letter have today commenced legal proceedings against Tomscoll.”
Lamur said this was the first time this sort of demands had been made of the organisation by the incoming minister without the “decency or courtesy” of calling for a full briefing on the bank’s operation.
Lamur intimated that this might be the work of a sacked former employee who had now aligned himself with the minister and was seeking to re-enter the bank in a senior management capacity.
He said a lot of what the minister was asking for was erroneous, vindictive, intimidating, personal and a witch-hunt, which also bordered on defamation.
Lamur’s letter to Tomscoll read in part: “It (minister’s direction) also seems to question the credibility, integrity, professionalism and experiences of not only the management, past and current board members, but also our past ministers who worked with us all to take the bank to this stage.”
He confirmed that the bank would furnish the annual reports 2010 and 2011, management reports, corporate plan and other requirements made on the board and management by Tomscoll including a micro-finance strategy.
As to the loan of K187,100 made to himself, Lamur said there was no denying it.
“One was an agriculture loan and the other a commercial loan. Please be advised that all requirements and processes were followed by the bank before the loans were approved. There was no special treatment to me as chairman and nor do I expect any anyway.
“The claim that I am not servicing the loan is incorrect and very misleading. Let me advise you that both loans are being serviced, fully secured by securities and, in both cases, I funded 60% cash equity and only borrowed the balances. So no issues there for now.”
Lamur expressed surprise that the minister had not sought to sit down with colleague minister Richard Maru who knows the bank’s dealings inside-out as the immediate past managing director.
Lamur said he was not afraid to leave the board if asked to do so but he would go down fighting for what he believed to be right.