IF the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) gets negative publicity, it is mostly self-inflicted and therefore well deserved.
The bank was set up to be the torchb
earer for the financial sector in corporate governance, customer service and human resource management.
But lo and behold, with only six months in operation, the bank has and continues to court embarrassing controversy ranging from allegations of jobs for the boys, conflicts of interest at board level, vindictiveness against staff to outright unprofessionalism.
Readers will recall my letter to the Independent in January entitled “Gono’s circus comes to town”. I am no prophet but after analysing the then proposed structure of the bank and the credentials of the would-be directors and senior managers, I was convinced then as I am now that the circus which was about to hit town would leave Jojo the Clown green with envy.
I was saddened to read in the Independent of August 5 that ZABG had sunk further into the abyss of tragicomedy and was now bugging staff’s phones and tracing e-mails, which culminated in the dismissal of G Shoko and T Muzenda!
Who, I ask, is monitoring the phones and e-mails of executives to judge their commitment to ZABG, especially given the salaries they are paying each other and the abuse of staff and vehicles? Is ZABG at war such that it would have enemies?
Are the executives of ZABG saying the takeover of loans and advances, deposits and physical assets was so perfect that it should not be questioned? I, for one, from records at my disposal here at the Reserve Bank, know that the loan book reported to have been “acquired” by ZABG is a thumbsuck figure fraught with a lot of irregularities!
In what way is talking to or congratulating a successful entrepreneur like ex-Trust directors a crime especially if the individuals in question are not specified, are not wanted by the police and have not been hauled before the courts?
If the ex-directors of Trust Bank can still come into the country and hold meetings with high-profile citizens including government ministers, what’s wrong with Shoko and Muzenda sending goodwill messages to them?
In my view, the two dismissed gentlemen are actually more professional than their ZABG bosses because they give credit where it is due. It’s unfortunate that ZABG fired these two gentlemen who I understand were instrumental in the setting up of the bank.