RBZ denies looting allegations-(15-02-07)

HARARE - Last week The Zimbabwean carried on its front page an article about how President Robert Mugabe and his officials had been breaching Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) regulations by not returning funds issued each time they travel official business. Since 1980 it is estimated they have prejudi

ced the state by up to US$20 million.
Investigations by The Zimbabwean revealed that a number of senior RBZ employees were tortured by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and subsequently dismissed during the 1990s after they had compiled statistics showing figures of what Mugabe and other officials owed the bank in un-surrendered funds.
At the time of going to press no response from the RBZ governor’s office had been received despite repeated efforts over the previous two weeks to obtain response to the formal list of questions sent to him as requested.
An official response has now been received from RBZ spokesman Kumbirai Nhongo.
His full response is as follows:
Q:Dear Dr Gono, I am doing investigations for an article to be run in The Zimbabwean newspaper following information supplied by various sources that the RBZ has a special foreign currency account called the Contingency Account number 020:12500-set aside for provision of foreign currency to the head of State and other government officials each time they travel outside the country. This is reported to be different from the general business travel allowance and to be a special preserve for the head of State and other senior government officials. I understand that it has not been handled properly over the years. May you therefore shed more light on this account and its main purpose?
A:Your sources have supplied you with complete falsehoods whose main purpose is nothing but sensational malice and needless germination of public distrust in national institutions.
Q:It is alleged that recipients of funds from this account, including the president, are supposed to return the money after their trips in the event they would not have used the money for an contingency plans but have not been doing so since 1980. Do you confirm this? What is your comment on this?
A:Therefore, kindly be advised that the entireties of your questions are trailing the imaginary creations of your informants.
Q:Sources say the same culture of government officials not returning the money has persisted during your tenure as head of the central bank. Do you confirm this and may you please provide details?
Q:It is also alleged that there are some RBZ senior employees who used to work in the department under which the Contingency Account falls that were dismissed and tortured by officials from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) during the 1990s after they had compiled information about the amounts of money taken from the account since 1980 by government officials including the president but not returned as per policy. Although you were not the head of central bank then, it is my expectation that you could have established such a major occurrence through records. Are you aware of such an event and what is your comment?
Q: If it is the procedure that funds from the said account are not, or have not for sometime been returned to the central bank, could you be in a position to provide the amounts that the bank has been prejudiced of and clarify over what period of time?
Q: What are the current rates that the bank gives to government officials, including the president when they travel outside the country as contingency allowance?
A: The Governor and his Team are deeply engaged in priority national matters and really implore on the generality of Zimbabweans to seek to add value to the economic turnaround journey, than to invest man-hours creating absolute lies.

MDC Petition -16-02-07
Letter to UNDP and OCHA from WOZA (13-02-07)

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