By Lance Guma
Eleven days ago Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Dr John Mangudya published a statement claiming the bank was not involved in the distribution or trading of the demonetized Zimdollar bearer notes last used ten years ago in the hyper-inflationary era of December 2008.
Mangudya who took over from Dr Gideon Gono, insisted the RBZ was not involved in the distribution or trading of these notes which have been fetching good money ($390 each) on e-Bay, Amazon and are a collector’s dream possession especially the 100 and 50 trillion dollar bearer notes.
“The bank is not aware of the source of the notes being sold and cannot vouch for the genuineness or otherwise of the said notes. The bank also advises the public that any demonetised Zimbabwe dollar notes that the bank may have in stock are not for sale,” said Dr Mangudya.
Nehanda Radio however has in its possession documents proving that the central bank under Mangudya’s watch and authorization has been exporting these Zimdollar bearer notes and dealing in them. This immediately begs the question why Mangudya would deny something the bank is doing?
RBZ officials Mr Azvinandaa Saburi and a Mr Manimanzi signed Certificate of Origin and Certificate of Conformity exporting a consignment to Italy on 6 October, 2018. The documents in our possession prove that Mangudya cleared this and other transactions of a similar nature on 27 August, 2018.
The letter was addressed to a Mr Angelo Montanarl, the Mandate Holder in Italy. Nehanda Radio pressed Mangudya to shed light on (1) what mandate was this that Mr Montanarl held and from whom. (2) What was the value of the consignment you sent out? (3) Did you get clearance from your minister of finance or the president to export the currency?
Eight days after Nehanda Radio sent the questions to Mangudya via email, he has still not responded. We also asked the central bank chief to (1) explain the normal procedure for handling demonetized currency at the RBZ, (2) when did the RBZ demonetize the bearer cheques? (3) why would demonetized currency still be in your vaults years after demonetization?
When Mangudya was recruited to take over the RBZ, he previously worked for CBZ Bank Limited. The documents in Nehanda Radio’s possession show that CBZ was mentioned as the preferred bank to handle this transaction including custody of these demonetized bearer cheques.
We asked Mangudya if this service was put to tender for other banks to bid if they so wished or this was a closed deal with the governor’s previous bank? It would appear CBZ was given preferential treatment to handle this lucrative transaction creating a conflict of interest for the governor.
Its also not clear how much has been raised from the sale of the demonetized Zimdollar bearer notes or if the deal was approved by the RBZ board and the Deputy Governors?
Demonetized Zimdollar bearer notes exposed in Colombia
While the governor is still to provide answers, the bigger question is why take out adverts to deny that the bank is involved in the distribution or trading of demonetized Zimdollar bearer notes?
A source who spoke to Nehanda Radio said “The Government is looking for money by all
means possible… and it would seem like they are seeking to cash in on the tools of misery which were used during the country’s worst moments of economic suffering in 2008.”
“Can they tell the nation how much they hope to make from such covert operations? Will that money be accurately accounted for? Why Italy and Colombia of all places? Why not hold a public auction in Zimbabwe?
“Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube needs to look at this … another cartel? What does this say about Acie Lumumba’s utterances and exoneration of the RBZ top brass?
“We learnt that there is an audit taking place right now at RBZ. I feel that they should include the bearer cheques in their scope of audit and it will be interesting to get their findings.” Nehanda Radio