Well-placed sources told ZimOnline that the outstanding money was part of
US$300 000 the PTA Bank kept in an account held with the RBZ and which was
to be used for the regional clearing house. But the central that has used other private funds without consent from owners used the money without permission from the PTA Bank.
The RBZ – charged with raising cash to keep President Robert Mugabe’s government afloat before the Zimbabwean leader agreed a unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – had only managed to pay back US$200 000 a few weeks before the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African States (COMESA) Summit that took place in Victoria Falls last week.
The PTA Bank is an institution of COMESA, whose new chairman is Mugabe. “The PTA bank is still owed US$100 000 by the RBZ which is part of the US$300 000,” said a top RBZ official, who did not want to be named for professional reasons. The official added: “Former central bank chief Kombo Moyana (now with the regional clearing house) had to write to Gono (Gideon, RBZ governor) on more than three occasions to get the money. The PTA Bank was paid US$200 000, but we do not know when the outstanding money will be repaid.”
Gono, accused by Finance Minister Tendai Biti of running the RBZ without regard to the law and in the process undermining and weakening the country’s banking and financial system, confirmed last month that he had raided more than US$2 billion in funds belonging to NGOs, private firms and individuals in order to keep the government afloat last year.
Funds seized by Gono included US$7.3 million donated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria and meant to fund programmes to combat HIV/Aids and other killer diseases. The RBZ eventually paid back the money.
Gono, who has been under immense pressure to quit from Tsvangirai and Biti, has defended his actions as necessary to beat off western sanctions against Mugabe’s government. Critics say most of the funds seized by Gono went to funding a lavish life
for Mugabe and his cronies. Gono and Moyana were not immediately available for comment on the matter.