WAMI rebuffs media reports about impropriety regarding operations

The West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) has rebuffed media reports that it awarded contracts without due process.

“This is incorrect. All contracts were awarded in accordance with procurement processes of WAMI, and directives of the country, bilateral and multilateral institutions providing the funding,” a statement issued by the Institute in Accra at the weekend said.

It said the institute has dealt with only respectable individuals and firms with professionally acknowledged competence and expertise in their respective fields.

The statement also rejected reports that there was no meeting to discuss the publication of a book- “Monetary and Financial Integration in West Africa”.

It said: “There was a meeting to discuss the publication of the book. The decision to publish the book in its present form was taken at the 45th Meeting of the Management Board of WAMi on Wednesday, October 28, 2009.

“WAMi is pleased and proud that this book has been initiated and authored by its management and staff under the guidance of the Director General, Dr Temitope Oshikoya.”

The book acknowledged the 23 professional staff including all directors of WAMI who co-authored chapters in the “edited” book.

“As acknowledged in the preface of the book, “The book would not have been possible without the contributions of several people. It is a product of collaborative efforts among the staff of the West African Monetary Institute, which has been at the centre of making the technical preparations for monetary union and financial integration in the West African Monetary Zone.”

The book examines the process, progress, prospects and challenges of forming a monetary union and the on-going financial integration in the West African Monetary Zone.

“Indeed, the book was prescient as the lessons of the Euro zone experience clearly indicate that a monetary union requires certain fundamentals and pre-requisites for its sustained success. The book has been widely acclaimed as an authoritative piece on the establishment of a durable monetary union in developing countries and sub-regions in Africa.

“The book has been published by Routledge, an international reputable company, and in the publishing agreement, all royalty for the sale of the book goes to WAMI. We (WAMI) wonder where the millions of proceeds from the book referred to in a newspaper caption are coming from,” the statement said.

It noted that another article referred to the termination of employment of some former members of staff, adding that the decision not to renew the contract of an unnamed person was because his contract was taken solely on the basis of his record of indiscipline.

“Over a four-year period, the staff received eight written warnings and several verbal warnings from four different directors under three different Directors-General.

“In the case of a former Director, the decision not to renew her contract was taken by the Committee of Governors before a new Director General took office. In respect of another Director…, he resigned to return to a better-paying position in his home country.

“One of the articles stated that a Director received two cars for free from WAMI. This is incorrect. There is a policy in place approved by the Governing Council for the allocation and disposal of cars.

“One other article suggests that the management of WAMI has been intimidating staff. This is far from the truth. Rather the management of WAMI has sought to institute reforms and implement rules and regulations to curb indiscipline and laxity, and to promote values normally attributed to an international organisation.”

The statement said examples of the indiscipline and irresponsible behaviour, which management had to deal with was a record of incompetence and unsatisfactory performance of employees whose contracts are about to expire, but are trying to remain at post by any means possible and have now embarked on a malicious attack against WAMI through dissemination of false information.

Others include a staff who travelled abroad for six months on frivolous sick leave, adding: “Once informed by the institute that it intended to stop payment of salary in accordance with policy, the staff resumed work within a week.”

The statement also listed a staff who was warned for abandoning his official mission to travel to his country for five days without permission; and a staff who resigned from the institute and sought to claim three years’ instead of two years’ depreciation on the car allocated to him, which he was entitled to purchase on disengagement from the institute.

It said numerous cases of indiscipline exist, and WAMI’s current management is seeking to address them.

The statement said a former central bank governor of a WAMZ country wrote on August 14, 2008 to his colleagues and said: “I would agree with a formal decision by Governors that the incoming heads of the institutions undertake a cleaning exercise by not renewing the existing contracts of officials upon expiration, but rather take immediate steps to recruit replacement staff.”

It said: “To all intent and purposes, these newspaper articles are meant to cause mischief through misrepresentations and misinformation! The… public and indeed all stakeholders should take cognisance of and be properly guided by the above facts.

“We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the achievements of WAMI over the past three years.

“The Institute has increased its resources four-fold, while reducing the contributions of its member states.

“WAMI has facilitated the enlargement of the membership of the West African Monetary Zone with the admission of the Republic of Liberia by the Authority of Heads of State in February 2009.

“WAMI has been developing the Payment Systems in the four member states of the zone: The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

The statement said WAMI has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the College of Supervisors of the West African Monetary Zone, to promote financial system stability by enhancing co-operation, information sharing and co-ordination amongst bank supervisors in the zone.

Recognising the need to support member countries in building capacity to implement the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), WAMI in collaboration with Euro money organised a high level of IFRS meeting.

WAMI has assisted The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to formulate their national trade policies and action programmes. GNA

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