via High Court to resume theft of funds case against RBZ | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda December 2, 2013
The High Court will on Tuesday resume the case against the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart), who are accused of misappropriating an estimated half a million dollars from an AIDs charity.
The case was due to be heard last Thursday, but was postponed to give the two banking institutions more time to conduct talks. Both StanChart and the RBZ are seeking immunity from prosecution over the issue. StanChart has insisted they were following orders when they allowed the RBZ to take the forex.
In 2007 the RBZ, under the instruction of Gideon Gono, “centralized” all foreign currency accounts claiming this was an attempt to stem rising inflation and stabilize the economy. But the move effectively gave the RBZ control of more than a billion dollars worth of foreign currency being held by other banks and authorized dealers on behalf of their clients.
The Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN), a donor funded charity assisting in the battle against HIV/AIDS, fell victim to the RBZ “centralization” in 2008, losing an estimated $500, 000 from their StanChart account.
ZAN has challenged this seizure of their forex and accused both the RBZ and StanChart of expropriating their funds illegally.
Lawyer Belinda Chinowawa told SW Radio Africa that there is already a judicial precedent that the RBZ and StanChart should consider. Earlier this month, a Chinese-owned firm in Kwekwe, China Shougang International, won its case against Stanchart, after its funds were seized under similar circumstances.
Stanchart had denied responsibility and urged the Chinese firm to approach the RBZ for their money. But the Supreme Court disagreed, and ordered StanChart to pay the firm almost $50, 000. Chinowawa said StanChart and RBZ should take this into consideration and negotiate a deal with ZAN.