RBZ suspends top officials over graft; dev seen as part of ED-Chiwenga turf fight

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has suspended four senior officials over allegations of corruption.

The development comes at a time the apex bank is under fire for allegedly failing to get a grip on illegal foreign currency trading as the country’s economy tumbles just three months after the disputed July 30 elections.

The suspensions, which follow public allegations made by finance ministry spokesman Acie Lumumba, were confirmed Monday in a statement by RBZ governor John Mangudya.

Lumumba has accused the officials of engaging in illegal foreign currency dealings.

“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wishes to advise members of the public that following allegations of impropriety levelled against senior officials of the Bank, namely Messrs Mirirai Chiremba, Norman Mataruka, Gresham Muradzikwa and Azvinandawa Saburi, by Mr Lumumba, the Bank has found it necessary, for the sake of transparency and good corporate governance, that the allegations be followed through and investigated in line with the Bank’s Employment Code of Conduct,” said Mangudya.

“Consequently, on 22 October 2018, the Bank suspended the quartet from employment for an indefinite period to pave way for the investigations.

“Once the investigations have been concluded, the public shall be advised of the outcome and the appropriate corrective action to be taken as dictated by the outcome of the investigations.”

Zimbabwe is battling serious foreign currency shortages which have seen rates for the surrogate Bond Notes and RTGS currencies plummet on the black market resulting in shortages of basic commodities and price hikes.

In a post on Facebook, Lumumba accused the RBZ officials for fanning black market currency trading, claiming that they were also undermining finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s efforts to right the country’s collapsing economy.

Lumumba claimed that the RBZ officials were runners for some individual he only identified as Queen B.

The pro-Zanu PF activist was appointed chairperson of the finance ministry’s communications taskforce by Prof Ncube last Friday.

The appointment was however put in doubt Monday evening by the information ministry.

“Minister of Finance, Hon @MthuliNcube would like to inform the public that he doesn’t have a spokesperson outside institutions of govt,” the ministry said on Twitter Monday evening.

“Regarding the ‘Communications Taskforce’, he is yet to operationalise it as he is dealing with requirements of PRAZ & Civil Service Commission.”

His appointment had been a ‘mistake’, the ministry added.

“Mistakes were made but advice from govt lawyers indicate there are legal housekeeping issues regarding the Procurement Act Cap 22:14 which need to be regularised and the Ministry of Finance is dealing with that.”