By Alois Vinga
FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has assigned a top central bank official once mired in a messy forex scandal to become part of his new foreign currency allocation team.
In a statement Friday, Ncube drafted into his new Foreign Currency Allocation Committee, controversial Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) top executive Azvinandaa Saburi who was last year implicated in a multi-million dollar forex scandal by ex-Zanu PF youth empowerment lobbyist Acie Lumumba.
“In line with this policy pronouncement,” Ncube said in a statement Friday, “I am pleased to announce the appointment of the following Members to the Foreign Currency Allocation Committee…”
He went on to list Saburi and the rest as constituting the team.
The other members include a Mr A Chikondo from the office of the President and Cabinet, Z.R Churu, D Muchemwa (Finance Ministry), F Makombe (from the Industry and Commerce Ministry) and Colonel M. Mudzinganyama (Energy and Power Development Ministry).
In October last year, former Finance Ministry’s communication taskforce chair, Lumumba, real name Gerald Mutumanje, made sensational claims that Saburi and three other RBZ top officials, were among the mysterious lords fuelling the country’s multi-million dollar foreign currency black market. Azvinandaa is RBZ Director Financial Markets.
The four were immediately suspended by RBZ governor John Mangudya who instituted any internal probe into the alleged impropriety claims. They were reinstated two months later after being cleared of any wrong doing.
However, despite the claims which were never invested by national police and the anti-corruption commission, Ncube has placed his faith on the central bank boss in matters to deal with the distribution of scarce foreign currency among the country’s key sectors in both government and privately owned business entities.
Government, through the central bank, has shouldered the arduous responsibility of sourcing and allocating foreign currency to strategic firms that require the resource to keep their operations running.
There are strong but yet to be proven claims that both government and some manufacturing firms have relied on the illegal street market to source for the resource as the country was not importing a lot to generate enough foreign currency stocks in its vaults.