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Kingdom retrenchees blow whistle

Staff writer

WORKERS retrenched by Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL) have started to blow the whistle on the bank, sending a deluge of e-mails to the media and the central bank.

In the last three weeks it has been reported that KFHL deputy chairman Nigel Chanakira was on the run, a claim which has turned out to be untrue.

However, informers have continued to send details of what they term incidents of misfeasance by the bank’s directors – especially externalisation of foreign currency.

A letter to central bank governor Gideon Gono from KFHL chairman Richard Muirimi said the leaks the bank was experiencing might be coming from disgruntled retrenched workers.

“To safeguard the business and to protect the dignity of those affected, they (the workers) were requested to commence leave with immediate effect,” said Muirimi.

“They are however on full pay. It goes without saying that amongst those in this category there will undoubtedly exist a degree of disgruntlement and perceived victim status. In fact some of the information management challenges and ‘leaks’ we have recently experienced seem to point to this group,” he said.

As part of its rationalisation exercise, KFHL is reducing its staff complement by 123 during 2004.

This week a “whistleblower” sent an e-mail to the Zimbabwe Independent, which was copied to the central bank, saying Kingdom Merchant Bank (KMB), a subsidiary of KFHL, had accounts with foreign corresponding banks in Europe, the United States, Botswana, South Africa and Australia.

The informant claimed the accounts were opened to harvest foreign currency from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. It said Zimbabweans would deposit hard currency in the accounts and KMB would pay the equivalent in Zimbabwe dollars at parallel market rates.

The informers have been urging the central bank to investigate KFHL as it did with NMB bank whose directors have since fled the country.

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