BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said it lacked knowledge to manage over $1,5 million forfeited funds and assets, a situation that has resulted in such properties being stuck at its asset management unit which was established last year.
An RBZ official Wellington Kaseke said the central bank was “shooting in the dark” in terms of managing the recovered assets comprising of confiscated properties from corruption activities.
Addressing stakeholders at a roundtable discussion hosted by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) on Wednesday to check the progress made on adopting the United Nations Convention Against Corruption provisions in asset recovery, Kaseke revealed that over $1,5 million was stuck in the Zimbabwe Asset Management fund, including two houses, five trucks and two passenger cars pending finalisation of cases at the courts.
“We want to thank the authorities that we have at least started operating, though we still have a lot to learn. There is need for co-ordinated approaches with all the critical stakeholders to facilitate the asset management unit to maximise on the value of the forfeited assets,”Kaseke said.
“The challenges we have encountered so far include litigious tenants and property owners where there is resistance by the previous owner to release assets on takeover. The unit has been drawn into litigation. A knowledge gap and lack of experience hinders the full potential of the unit which is one of the reasons for our engagement with established units, so that we can learn from them as we are literally shooting in the dark.”
Stakeholders recommended that financial laws must be harmonised, while institutions such as the RBZ, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, National Prosecuting Authority, and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission among others must work together on issues of confiscation and management of assets.
TIZ director Tafadzwa Chikumbu said authorities should appreciate the need to preserve the value of confiscated assets which might be affected by inflation.
“It is unfortunate that the government is not accepting the reality associated with the rising inflation and continued devaluation of the local currency. It is better for them to use the $1,5 million to purchase gold coins to preserve its value,” Chikumbu said.
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