The Sunday Mail
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has opened a large-scale investigation into externalisation and fraud allegations involving about US$200 million against directors and managers of six failed banks.
Zacc’s investigations committee chair Mr Goodson Nguni confirmed that the probe was underway.
“The net is closing in on some former directors and managers of failed banks because there are a number of questionable transactions. Money was siphoned out of the country and everyone involved must be held to account,” he said.
The Sunday Mail understands that a team of Zacc investigators has in recent days been perusing documents related to transcations by bankers who cannot be named at this stage as this may jeopardise investigations.
According to information gathered so far, the failed banks under probe are Interfin, Royal, Trust, Allied, Tetrad and AfriAsia. Preliminary evidence shows that the money was siphoned from banks as insider loans while some directors gave loans to their relatives and lovers.
Close to US$200 million was trapped in non-performing insider loans.
The paper trail being perused by Zacc indicates the bankers may have taken money from Zimbabwe to invest in South African companies, in addition to buying luxury beach front properties in Cape Town and Durban, and mansions in in the plush Sandton suburb of Johannesburg. Zacc is also interested in a Harare-based businessman who reportedly accessed about US$20 million from Kingdom Bank and moved it to South Africa.
Another case invloves an MDC official and businessman who was given a total of US$16 million by three banks, which he used to buy a cotton ginning firm across the Limpopo River.
“The investigation is expected to be complete in the next few weeks. The directors, chief executives and managers of some of the failed face criminal liability. These people accessed loans and gave loans to friends and relatives for purposes of externalisation.
“We believe that serious fraud was committed against depositors because some of the funds which were stolen were ordinary people’s money.
“The bankers thought the cases died a natural death but how can we ignore people who externalised money when the country is facing problems of foreign currency. These are the culprits who created the cash problems and they will soon be brought to book. The long arm of the law is soon catching up with the bankers,” said an investigator.
“We have it on good authority that the money was used to buy mansions and companies mainly in South Africa. The fight against the suspected criminals has started.”
The Zacc investigation comes against a background of a spike in illegal street trading of bond notes against foreign currencies. President Mugabe, through Statutory Instrument 122A of 2017, has gazetted regulations to deal with illegal cash vending.
The failed six banks saw 54 990 depositors losing their money. However, the Depositors Protection Scheme has compensated US$3,2 million.