Cash leaks: Two banks in trouble

Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is investigating CBZ Bank and Ecobank for allegedly illegally releasing $59 180 of the new bond notes and coins to two clients.

Pictures of wads of bank notes and a bucketful of coins channelled to the black market circulated on social media platforms, sparking a public outcry at a time when depositors were struggling to withdraw money from banks.

Lucky depositors were getting as little as $100 each, amid reports that some illegal currency traders were already in possession of large amounts of the new notes and coins.

RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya yesterday said preliminary investigations into the suspected illegal issuance of coins and notes revealed that a CBZ Bank customer was involved.

“Investigations by RBZ at CBZ indicated that an amount of $44, 180 was withdrawn by one of their customers. In this regard, CBZ Bank together with their customer are now assisting the Zimbabwe Republic Police with further investigations,” he said.
“As advised in our earlier Press statement (involving Ecobank), appropriate disciplinary measures shall be taken against those bent on damaging confidence by placing such pictures on social platforms.

“Such behaviour causes unnecessary anxiety and despondency within the economy.”
Last night, CBZ Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Blessing Mudavanhu declined to comment, referring all questions to the bank’s corporate affairs manager Mrs Laura Gwatiringa, whose phone was not going through.

In the case of Ecobank, Dr Mangudya said the central bank had found out that the bank notes circulating on social media had emanated from the bank.

“Preliminary investigations by RBZ at Ecobank indicate that an amount of $15 000 was withdrawn by one of their customers.
“Ecobank, together with their customer, are now assisting the Zimbabwe Republic Police with further investigations,” he said.
No comment could be obtained from Ecobank.

Dr Mangudya said the apex bank will strongly punish the implicated banks to ensure illegal activities do not recur.
Before the presentation of the 2020 National Budget in Parliament yesterday, Makonde MP Cde Kindness Paradza rose on a point of privilege and called for the punishment of banks involved in channelling money to the black market when genuine depositors were not getting money.