By A. Y. Musa
In the wake of the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM), Treasurer Caroline Anze-Bishop raised concerns regarding what she perceived as marginalizing her constitutional responsibilities within the Executive Committee of the NBA. Mrs. Bishop declined to endorse the Financial Report presented to members, citing her non-involvement in its preparation and approval process.
A crucial matter to address here is the alignment of Mrs. Anze-Bishop’s claims with the stipulations of the NBA Constitution regarding the Treasurer’s duties. Section 5 (9g) of the constitution mandates the Treasurer to “submit an Annual Report to the Annual General Meeting, accompanied by the audited accounts and balance sheet for the preceding Financial Year.”
This provision emphasizes that the Treasurer’s primary responsibility is to present the Annual Report, including audited financial statements, for 2022. Her role does not encompass preparing these accounts, as she implied. Instead, her role is to present the information compiled by others. Read Also: https://legalattorneyblog.com/2023/09/22/the-nba-president-clears-the-air-on-the-treasurers-refusal-to-sign-the-financial-reports-at-the-agm-2023/
From the emotional presentation delivered by the Treasurer during the NBA AGM, which garnered significant attention on social media, it becomes evident that she may not have a comprehensive understanding of her office’s functions and how they interact with other national positions.
It appears that she may be conflating the operational aspects of the NBA National Secretariat with those of branch secretariats. Section 23 of the NBA Constitution, which addresses financial matters, designates three principal signatories to the Association’s accounts: the President, the General Secretary, and the Treasurer, with any two having the authority to sign.
The President holds the ultimate signatory authority for NBA accounts. Furthermore, the General Secretary is consistently available at the NBA House every week due to their role. This arrangement is constitutionally practical and fiscally responsible, allowing the General Secretary to efficiently review and co-approve payments without incurring additional expenses or delays.
During the AGM, the President revealed instances when the General Secretary was out of the country, necessitating all payments routed through the Treasurer. In such cases, the Treasurer, rather than requesting special accommodations and per diem expenses, should consider the practicality of her role and the cost-efficiency of the Association’s operations.
It is pertinent to question whether we, as members, expect the NBA to reduce the cost of governance while simultaneously expecting different treatment. Are our expectations of the NBA rooted in reason and logic, or are they driven by emotion?
From a constitutional perspective, there is no instance where our Treasurer was prevented from executing her office’s duties. In fact, her refusal to fulfil her responsibilities can be seen as an abdication of her role. Her announcement during the AGM that she declined to sign, essentially admitting to neglecting her elected duty, raises doubts about the continued relevance of her tenure.
There is a pressing need for self-reflection on the part of our Treasurer. She should take the initiative to familiarize herself with the constitutional responsibilities of her office and operate within the defined parameters of her role.
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