ZABG’s blatant hypocrisy

YOUR article on the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) ignoring basic corporate governance issues makes very sad reading, and smacks of blatant hypocrisy on the bank’s part. Hats off to your reporter for exposing such glaring corporate

governance shortcomings.

At the height of the financial sector crisis, the central bank closed at least seven institutions. Lack of good corporate governance was highlighted as the chief reason among others. At one institution, Steven Gwasira personally came to announce the closure of the bank, citing this as one of the reasons. Why is this now happening under his very nose?

The issue of Lorimak’s involvement in the ZABG grading system and maintaining the executive payroll raises a lot of stinking questions. Richard Makoni and Phipps Mabika are both senior people in both ZABG and Lorimak structures. The fact that their company is providing ZABG with the said human resource services is morally objectionable.

Questions that arise are: who signs the cheque to pay Lorimak? Who generates the requisition and who receives the payment?

What it means is that Mabika draws a salary from ZABG on a payroll that is maintained by his company, and then shares the profit with his partner who also sits on the ZABG board. What a business relationship!

Where is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe when this is happening? Where is the ZABG board? I know that eminent and accomplished men in the mould of Doug Mamvura, Joe Mtizwa and Cornelius Sanyanga, among others, sit on that board. What’s going on gentlemen?

Does ZABG not have a risk department? This is a corporate governance risk.

It is not enough in corporate governance just to declare your interests. The best scenario is to avoid areas of conflict of interest. Mabika should choose ZABG or Lorimak.

Mabika was there at Stanchart during our time, and those who were there know that he was “managed out” because of conflict of interest involving Lorimak after the workers’ committee had complained since Lorimak was providing contract employees to the bank, and the bank would pay the firm, which would in turn pay the contract employees.

On another note, it is also improper for ZABG, which has a 15-member board, to have just one executive director, Gwasira, sitting on the board.

Depositors in Zimbabwe should be wary of banks that do not practise good corporate governance. Once bitten, twice shy. I will encourage my relatives back home to close their accounts until such issues are regularised.

Meanwhile, “Operation Good Corporate Governance” should visit ZABG.


University of Cambridge,

United Kingdom.