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The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's (RBZ) handling of business travel allowances is fraught with loopholes and corruption, resulting in the loss of huge amounts of scarce foreign currency to individuals and companies aligned to the ruling party. Investigations by The Zimbabwean have shown

that RBZ Governor Gideon Gono, vocal in his denouncing of corruption, has failed to stamp out a system of patronage and favouritism based on Zanu (PF) party politics to guide the handling of foreign currency issued by the central Bank.
It has also been established that looting of scarce forex is rampant through systematic misrepresentation by individuals and corporates applying for business travel allowances.
The Zimbabwean has seen copies of applications by a Zanu (PF) official who runs an agro-business company, requiring him to travel regularly, especially to Asia. On three occasions during the past four months he has requested foreign currency through CBZ Bank Limited and claimed to have a delegation of between 11 and 15 members when in fact, only two, three and four people have made the trips.
Amounts of between US$20 000 and US$35 000 have been approved by the RBZ, and this paper established that the bulk of the money was used to purchase goods for resale here and to trade on the black market.
“That is the system used by almost everyone and it is now entrenched,” an RBZ senior official in the forex department said, on condition of anonymity. “The governor is aware of this and there is a deliberate lack of interest in scrutinizing the applications, especially for those on the right political side.”
Gono denied these allegations: “Nothing can be further from the truth. Your sources are feeding you with imaginary lies. The Reserve Bank, as custodian of administering the country’s Exchange Control Regulations does not assume the role of banks which it supervises,” he said.
“The Authorised Dealers are expected to carry out post issuance checks to confirm that their customers indeed travelled. In the surveillance systems that we use, there are established, internationally compliant and tested corporate governance rules that are in force. The equivalent of up to US$500 a day may be issued as business travel allowance.”
The Zimbabwean revealed in March that President Robert Mugabe and other senior government officials have been looting from the RBZ’s contingency account and prejudiced the country of more than US$20 million since independence in 1980.

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