ZABG mired in confusion

Shakeman Mugari


THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has extended the curatorship of Royal and Barbican banks for two months, raising further doubts over operations of the Zimbabwe Allied Ban

king Group (ZABG).


The RBZ issued a statement yesterday announcing that Royal and Barbican’s curatorships had been extended to April.


This means the two banks are still under the management of their curators despite another statement earlier indicating that the banks had been absorbed into ZABG.


The extension indicates that the new bank project has not yet started. ZABG has been entangled in controversy emanating from RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s failure to consult with the shareholders of the banks.


Gono himself issued two conflicting statements in his fourth monetary policy statement on January 25.


“I am pleased to announce that Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group opened its doors on the 24th of January, 2005 and the public are encouraged to carry out normal banking business with this renewed national pride,” Gono said.


He later made a u-turn in the same statement when he announced that the bank would open its doors on January 31. “Even if it means opening on 31 January at midnight, we will do so,” said Gono.


The shareholders of Royal Bank have since taken the RBZ to court challenging its ZABG project which they said was illegal. Trust Bank, which was also swallowed by ZABG, has challenged the move. Barbican is understood to be in the process of filing its own litigation against the central bank.


Trust and Royal are arguing that their assets were taken over without proper consultation with the shareholders.