RBZ Taken To Court Over US$225 000 Debt For War Vets Training

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been taken to court by the National Business Council of Zimbabwe after failing to pay a US$225 000 debt for bankrolling a training programme and census for war veterans.

The central bank was charged US$250 000 for the project by the National Business Council, but only paid RTGS$250 000 in August last year following changes in the monetary policy directive of scrapping the multi-currency use.

However, the National Business Council argued that it was unfair for the RBZ to settle the debt using the RTGS instead of the US currency.

“On the 16th of August 2019 following changes in the monetary policy, defendant (RBZ) paid the sum of $250 000 to the plaintiff purportedly in full and final settlement of plaintiff’s claim,” reads part of the summons.

“The National Business Council denied that the payment of $250 000 was in full and final settlement of its claim since the debt was denominated in US currency which was 1:10 at the inter-bank exchange rate at the time the payment was made.

“The $250 000 represented US$25 000 at the inter-bank rate that was prevailing then leaving an outstanding value equivalent to US$225 000 outstanding at the then prevailing inter-bank exchange rate,” further submitted the National Business Council.

According to court papers, in July 2018 the plaintiff invited RBZ to attend its symposium with war veterans.

The programme was aimed at empowering the former liberation war fighters.

After the symposium and as part of its corporate social responsibility, the RBZ undertook to fund the war veterans training in basic management, capacity building and also promised to create a fund that would be accessed by the former freedom fighters.

The National Business Council was also engaged by the RBZ in consultation with the Ministry of War Veterans to carry out a census of war veterans, their dependants and to carry out business management training.

The National Business Council drew up a budget which was presented to the RBZ for rolling out the training programme and the census.

The council said it embarked on the programme based on a revised budget for the activities that had been trimmed downwards by RBZ.

“Upon completion of the programme, they raised their invoice in the sum of US$250 000 for its services for carrying out the programme on 7 January 2019.

“The letter dated January 7 2019 advised RBZ of National Business Council’s intention to revise the figure if not paid on time because of the effects of inflation that was eroding the value of the money owed in RTGS. Despite work having been done and several reminders, defendant did not pay the amount,” the summons read.

Despite council’s demands, the RBZ has allegedly refused to settle the outstanding debt.

The National Business Council is being represented by Chakanyuka and Associates Attorneys.

The case is yet to be set down for hearing.