AIDS charity fights to reclaim funds stolen by RBZ

via AIDS charity fights to reclaim funds stolen by RBZ | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell October 28, 2013 

A leading HIV/AIDS charity will later this week take the under pressure Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to court, in the latest legal challenge against the bank’s theft of foreign currency.

On Thursday officials from the RBZ, as well as officials from Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) will appear at the High Court, accused of misappropriating an estimated $500, 000 from the Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN).

In 2008, StanChart was forced to transfer the ZAN donor funded cash to the RBZ, after it ‘centralised’ all foreign currency accounts in 2007. This was part of efforts to stem the imminent collapse of the economy, which had suffered from years of economic misuse and bad policies by the then ZANU PF led government.

The ‘centralised’ order saw authorised dealers of forex being forced to hand over their clients’ money to the RBZ, which resulted in more than a billion dollars worth of foreign cash being seized.

The ZAN, being represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) will be having a pre-trial conference this Thursday with the RBZ and StanChart as the First and Second respondents in the case. ZLHR spokesperson Kumbirai Mafunda told SW Radio Africa that the ZAN’s stolen cash was meant to be used to assist with the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS.

“Zimbabwe has a high rate of HIV infection and this money could have been used in this fight. So we are just trying to assist Zimbabweans to recover what belongs to them,” Mafunda said.

The ZAN’s case is the latest in a series of legal suits against the RBZ’s theft of the money, through financial groups like StanChart. Most recently a Chinese-owned firm in Kwekwe, China Shougang International, earlier this month won its case against Stanchart, after its funds were seized following the RBZ order.

Stanchart argued that it was not liable and urged the Chinese firm to approach the RBZ instead. But the Supreme Court overruled this, and ordered StanChart to pay the firm almost $50, 000.

The High Court in June also ordered the central bank to return over US$1 million to the Trojan Nickel Mine firm, whose funds were seized through its BancABC account. The RBZ is appealing the High Court decision, and has said the matter should be taken before BancABC.

Economist John Robertson told SW Radio Africa that a dangerous precedent has been set where the banking institutions are being held liable for the RBZ’s orders.

“They (the banks) certainly need to be worried… they did not have the option to withhold the money from the RBZ. So that should have been part of the court’s reasoning. And if they are forced to find the money they might have to liquidate reserves and assets,” Robertson said, warning that this move would have detrimental, knock on affects.

He added: “The RBZ is unable to fulfill its own responsibilities and doesn’t have the reserves to fulfill any other responsibilities. So it’s an extremely messy situation that needs to be properly decided on.”



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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    I think this lunatic called Gono should be arrested. I don’t understand how he managed to get foreign currency to fund his flower projects and the the chickens back then using forex and at the same time taking the same forex from charities in the name of bailing the government. Where the money was going is so clear. I also here that the kids of this man are not even studying in Zimbabwe…

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    The world’s worst criminal state even surpassing equatorial guinea Angola china Cuba northkorea Iran venezuela . If there’s no international criminal court there’s always the snakepit at our new chikurubi

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    vukani madoda 9 years ago

    This must be one of the biggest broad daylight bank heists in history but the big question is ‘Who done it?’.Gono may be guilty of having shown monumental ignorance in economics by his decisions but for this scandalous decision to have happened on his watch clearly suggests that he is not the sacrificial lamb which he sometimes tries to make us beleive.Clearly he did not act alone and must have been very convincing or ably deceitful to those he was answerable to for him to have been able to continue sitting on the ‘self destruct’ button for so long. No doubt he did not come out of all this a poor at all both financially and in his standing:at some point he effectively had managed to elevate himself to a position only bettered by the President of the Land-the only way you knew it was him was becaue he adressed breakfast meetings and not rallies ,but perhaps his greatest failing was his waiting to be sacked once he had apparently single handedly destroyed the economy instead of resigning which is what many sensible persons faced with what was clearly a catastrophy would do .Instead he continued to sit on the ‘self destruct button’ completely oblivious of where the country was heading to.Is it surprising that he wasn’t sacked? No prizes for guessing-NO!The Court decisions so far have been rather confusing if inconsistent and are we yet to see a floodgate open which could drive the commercial banks under, never mind the indeginisation and sanctions worries-all thanks to Gono’s unwise past decisions- sadly the chickens are coming to roost now!

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    simon 9 years ago

    yes RBZ must pay….even to pay interest lost!!! Sell that tall building if you have to but peoples and companies money you robbed must be paid back. If a judge rules in favour of RBZ then you must know some back hander is happening. I don’t even know why this has to go to court. It was daylight robbery and must be paid back SIMPLE!!!

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    Sekuru Mapenga 9 years ago

    RBZ took the money and spent it.
    The Supreme Court orders the commercial banks to repay it.
    Sounds a lot like our old friends in Zanu PF.
    They commit the crime but you end up in jail.
    Remember the MDC 29?

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    peter faulkner 9 years ago

    soon the zimbabwe dollar will be re-empermented as the sole priciple curency so then what happened in 2007 will happen once more best thing is to transfer all forign currencys to sa and go bust meaning a RBZ bail out demand

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    Torai hupfumi 9 years ago

    Judge============ oders a bank to pay back, how about the abuser of the money RBZ they just enjoyed it for free. Next time they will ask individuals’ money and the bank will pay.

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    Wonder why Muvengwa is not commenting on this?

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    Harper 9 years ago

    As a Chikurubi Max old boy and keen to maintain standards I do not want these people lowering the tone of the place.

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    Johno 9 years ago

    I dpon’t get the sense of this:Court orders Stanchart and not RBZ to reimburse China Shougang then orders RBZ and not Banc ABC to reimburse Trojan Nickel.Why differing judgements for similar cases?