Shakeman Mugari/Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Ministry of Finance could lose $8 billion invested in the money market through a trust called Climax, it emerged this week.
The Reserve Bank and government, through the Finance ministry, use Climax as an investment vehicle in the money and stock market.
Former Finance junior minister and chairman of Trust Bank, Tichaendepi Masaya, chairs Climax.
Sources said the government and the RBZ could lose more than $8 billion after it emerged that Climax was battling to recover the money which is currently locked up in financial institutions that have been shut down or placed under curatorship.
The investmentvehicle has moneylocked up in tro-ubled National Dis-count House (NDH), Barbican, and Intermarket.
The investments in the troubled firms has led to management deciding to part ways with the then projects manager, finance manager and accountant for failure to read the problems associated with the firms.
Since the beginning of the year, the central bank has placed six firms under the management of curators.
Recently, Climax received $2,4 billion as a dividend from Bindura Nickel which had also been invested in the money market.
The firm has loaned a $4,9 billion stake in the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe nominees which sources say has not been paid back.
The central bank and Ministry of Finance snapped up Climax in 2002 when the firm had acquired a $1,2 billion bad book from Finhold.
Before the takeover by the RBZ and government, the company at one stage bailed out the now defunct Unibank with a $444 million advance.
Climax has also successfully managed to offset an $806 million debt it owed to Equator Bank of South Africa.
Climax is currently paying a percentage of managerial fees to National Asset Management Corporation (Namco) who had their asset management application fee turned down by the central bank.
Namco is a conduit company used to run the affairs of Climax after it failed to obtain an asset management licence from the central bank under the new regulations. Masaya also chairs Namco.
Although Climax is paying the managerial fees to Namco, it has since been established that because of the problems at Climax, there is no form of meaningful work being undertaken at the company.
Both Namco and Climax share the same offices.
Problems at Climax came to a head a fortnight ago, triggering the central bank’s investigations of the firm.
Masaya this week confirmed that the central bank had visited his institution. He also defended the dismissal of senior staff at Climax.
He however said that there was nothing sinister with the visit by the central bank.
“There is nothing amiss with the Reserve Bank coming to investigate. It is their company which they own through a Trust with the Ministry of Finance. Climax management had nothing really to do. So it was not good to continue paying them,” he said
“It had been a while since they came to audit their books following the managerial changes at the Reserve Bank.”