GT Bank MD Arrested for ‘Assault’

10
15779
GT Bank Liberia managing director, Ayodeji Bejide, injured employee Edward Freeman by throwing a calculator at him, drawing blood from his lips.

CBL suspends him for time indefinite

Although police spokesman H. Moses Carter’s mobile phone had remained switched off up to press time last night, the Daily Observer reliably gathered that officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) are holding Ayodeji Bejide, managing director (MD) of Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank) Liberia, in custody on the charge of physical assault against an employee of the bank.

Due to the severity of the wounds he inflicted on Edward Freeman, the assaulted employee who was on active duty, police will subsequently forward Bejide to court for prosecution.

On Tuesday, August 28, a video shared on Facebook shows Mr. Freeman bleeding from his lips in Bejide’s office after Bejide reportedly threw a calculator at him, allegedly wounding him on his lips.

After reportedly wounding Mr. Freeman, Bejide was heard in the video telling the employee to calm down, threatening to dismiss him if he made any further comment.

Mr. Freeman then walked out of Bejide’s office at the end of the video. The GT Bank MD, who is a Nigerian, is said to be in the constant habit of insulting employees, a situation which has led to series of resignations at the bank.

When contacted, Mr. Freeman declined to speak on the issue as he is seeking legal redress.  Many persons, who commented on the video posted on social media, expressed outrage at Mr. Freeman’s ordeal.

They said Nigerian employers are often aggressive toward their Liberian counterparts, addressing them in any manner and form.

Former GT Bank Liberia employees (names withheld) who spoke to the Daily Observer via mobile phone, said Bejide is noted for verbal assaults against employees, especially Liberians.

But some employees informed this paper that victim Freeman was assaulted for not submitting a report on time as mandated by Bejide, following a review of the Board of Directors in its August 2018 sitting.

A female employee told the Daily Observer that she resigned because of Bejide’s behavior, especially toward female staffers. She said Bejide looks down on employees and senior staffers as though they are his kids, and addresses them however he feels, in spite of one’s assignment and status.

CBL’s Statement

A statement issued last evening by authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), announced that Bejide has been suspended for time indefinite from the bank, with immediate effect and without pay, “pending a thorough investigation by the Board into the allegations.”

In the meantime, CBL has appointed Amazu Nwachukwy, GT Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, as Acting MD until the investigation is concluded.

The release quoted Nathaniel R. Patray, III, Chairman of the Board of Governors and Executive Governor of CBL, that the appointment of Mr.Nwachukwu will remain in force until the conclusion of the investigation; submission to the CBL within 48 hours of the Board’s intended course of action to address “this grave matter.”

The CBL will henceforth, review the GT Bank Board’s recommendations. Thereafter, it will ensure the strictest implementation of the Bank’s mitigated actions.

According to the Central Bank of Liberia, the GT Bank Board has conveyed its deep regrets for the alleged incident, and has further informed the CBL that a senior executive from its parent company, GT Bank Nigeria, will arrive in Liberia on Wednesday, August 29, 2018, to assist in the investigation.

Labor Minister’s position statement

At the same time, the Ministry of Labor (MoL) has also condemned Bejide’s action, terming it as “unacceptable.”

“We are not only deeply concerned by Bejide’s alleged action, but have also contacted the Ministry of Justice through the LNP to thoroughly investigate the matter.

“The police have already taken the suspect into custody, considering the possible criminal nature of this case,” the release said.

MoL further said that in keeping with the relevant procedural laws of Liberia where criminal actions take precedence over civil actions, the ministry will be informed by the outcome of the ongoing criminal investigation in the matter.

Meanwhile, the ministry emphasizes to all employers and employees that the Decent Work Act of Liberia in Section 14.3 (d) reserves its most severe sanctions for persons who breach the fundamental rights of another employee or attacks, batters, threatens, or intimidates his or her co-workers.

The ministry said that they will not hesitate to effect the utmost penalties on persons who flagrantly violate the Decent Work Act, and calls on all employers and employees to behave in keeping with law.

GT Bank’s Reaction

“We have received with total reprehension a report about the assault of one of our members of staff and wish to inform the public that we have immediately commenced a thorough investigation into the matter in accordance with professional standard and international best practices,” the GT Bank said in release late Tuesday evening.

The release, which is written under the signature of Alexandra Zoe, Head, Legal/Company Secretary, said at GT Bank Liberia, “we do not condone any form of assault in the workplace nor do we compromise on our principle that every staff should be able to come to work without fear of violence, abuse or harassment from any member of our staff.”

Indeed, at the core of our value is the premium we put on the welfare of our members of staff and their safety in the workplace.

As a law abiding organization and corporate citizen, GT Bank Liberia maintains a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards violence or assault of any kind and we will not hesitate to take action against any staff who is found to be in breach of the bank strict code of conduct, regardless of their position in the organization.

The bank also maintains very active structures to provide all necessary care and assistance to any member of staff who is a victim of assault.

Once again, “we wish to reassure all members of the public that the bank remains committed [to] ensuring a safe and conducive environment for its staff and providing best-in-class services to its customers.”

Authors

10 COMMENTS

  1. Suspension is not enough! After he has faced justice in a court of law, and has served his time in prison, ayodeji Bedjie should be deported to never again return to Liberia.

  2. This is totally unthinkable of a high corporate executive who ought to know better. He is not the only one with such habit thou, they are many both private and in the public sector across the country. People, let’s record all of them and go live on Facebook anytime.

  3. Okay that’s being over rated right there.
    That’s fool who’s throwed calculator at Mr Freeman needs total dismissment not suspension.
    These are things they all been doing for the pass years but has been exposed.

    Justice!!!!

    By Rufus Devine Brooks Jr

    Entertainment blogger/promoter

  4. Siboe Doe,
    Your comments are seconded by me from east to west.
    The suspension of Bejide is the equivalent of swating a fly or a mosquito. Bejide deserves to be locked up and fined for creating a hostile work environment. And yes, his butt must be immediately deported to his native country with a stamp glued on his face that says “Never Return” to Liberia for any business unless you’re a spook! That would send a powerful message to many foreign reprobates who take Liberians for granted.

    Bejide could not have bloodied up anyone’s lips in America. But Liberia is a different ball game. Let’s hope that although Liberia’s criminal justice is not the quintessential of justice systems in Africa, this time around, the courts will act wisely and punish Bejide for his bigotry.

    Siboe Doe, sometimes I blame “some Liberians” because of the extraordinary regard they bestow on foreigners, particularly Ghanaians, Nigerians and others. I see no reason for that because Nigeria and Ghana are not “second world” countries. Rather, we as well as they are locked up in the third world. For example, Ghana and Nigeria have electricity problems! Liberians have electricity problems. Why should we be like Ghana or Nigeria? Please

    Poor guy Freeman came to work the other day, choked up with a necktie and believed in his heart of hearts that he’d return home without a bloodied mouth. Probably before going to work, Freeman told his beloved wife to cook some collard greens with smoked bush meat (not monkey, please). Little did he know that the Nigerian phone thrower would impede his ability to kiss his wife upon return. Don’t we all know that kissing would definitely aggravate his pain?
    Well, lets wait and see the end of the drama.

  5. This is now the time and suitable occasion wherein the laws of the republic should be proven strong and effective…let justice prevail and may that so called head of a corporate entity be taught a lesson by properly rendering him what a disgruntle and aggressive person of his kind deserves.

  6. I guess this is why laws are made and necessary for the conduct and governance of every society. So that people will not be subjected to the emotions, whims and caprices of elements of societies no matter the prejudice. We agree no employee of any institution in Liberia should be assaulted by their boss for any reason whatsoever! If that were to ever happen as in this case, the full weight of the law should be applied accordingly without fear or favor. Not actions or interventions based in emotionalism as exhibited here by some. This man’s action is uncalled for, especially resulting in bloodletting as shown in the attached photo. But viewed in full context, could his action have been provoked? And even if provoked, the casual and knee-jerk reaction would be that it does not justify the assault. Yes, but it would mitigate the penalty. I’m saying all this to simply say, we should always defer these things to the law, not let our emotions or sentiments overshadow the law. When you consider the fact, for example, that the CBL jumped into this matter prematurely, as it is far from the prerogative of that institution to be involved in the internal affairs of each bank in Liberia, so long as it has nothing to do with the monetary policies of the country. Not to mention the premature intervention of the Labor Ministry as well. When such things as this happens, yes, the immediate intervention of law enforcement is necessary to bring the situation under control, apprehending any culprit as may be necessary. Thereafter, it is left with the “victim” to press charges if s/he chooses to. It is not the place of the CBL, MOL, etc. to initiate court action in the matter. That is, except wherein, the action is criminal and infringement of particular codes of conduct relative to any of those institutions. But I guess everybody is gung-ho about this incident because the culprit is a foreigner? How many times haven’t we heard of our senators or representatives assaulting others in Liberia? Or other officials of government? How many times haven’t we heard of employers and people in authority in general assaulting subordinates, whether physically or sexually? Or could it be because we see blood oozing from this victim? Bottom line, let us be about the rule of law across the board without distinction, whether in the classroom, sports arena, law enforcement, capitol building, executive mansion, anywhere in Liberia. We should not condone lawlessness from certain people or quarters in our society and frown on it only because it comes from foreigners. That’s my point!

  7. Hilary,
    You are right. The law is the law. Therefore it is hoped that something will be done, courtwise, to deal with Bejide’s brutal assault on a surbordinate. our courts are not the best. Yet I don’t know of any particular country where the court ststem is considered to be the apogee of perfection. By God’s grace, We’ll wait and see how the Bejide-Freeman drama plays out.

    Our emotions have played out not because Bejide is a foreign national. Of course not. According to the author of the above article, Bejide is a quick-tempered, boisterious person who constantly insults his surbordinates. Furthermore, it’s been said that many Liberians decided to voluntarily quit their jobs because of Bejide’s vituperative outbursts. Without a shred of doubt, we get the impression that the institution at which Bejide works is toxic! I am sure you will not tolerate such an outlandish behaivior from anyone whether she or he is a nativist or a foreign alien.
    A few months ago, a top cop in Monrovia ordered the spanking of a surbordinate on suspicion of a hanky-panky. The top cop stipulated that the surbordinate shouldn’t have had sex with his fiancee. The truth of the natter is that the said top cop created a toxic work environment! He took the law in his mighty hands and disciplined a young guy by publicly spanking him. What happened to the cop’s fiancee? Was the fiancee spaked? Why not? Or, how did the criminal justice system handle this issue at all?

    Bottom line:
    My reaction in the foregoing incident was swift. I condemned the powerful top cop and called for his termination and imprisonment. I knew that the said top cop was a bonafide Liberian.

    However, Bejide’s case opens a can that’s filled with lots of worms. For example, a good majority of drug dealers in Liberia are Nigerians. The question is how long should we wait without being able to talk? C’on Hilary. It’s not being xenophobic for Bejide to be condemned. Bejide must bear the punishment he deserves.

Leave a Reply to Dirt-Siboe Doe Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here