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Takawira slams CFX rescue plan

Chris Goko

BANKING veteran Isaac Takawira has disowned the CFX Bank (CFX) rescue plan, cobbled together by chief executive Wilson Gwatiringa and distributed to the press two weeks ago, s

aying it had not been “authorised by anyone”.

The South African-based executive told businessdigest that his board had not received the purported salvage plan.

“You got hold of a report that had not been presented to the board,” Takawira said by telephone last week.

He said the report was just one of the options bank shareholders and management were pursuing

“It’s one of the options we have been considering and it’s subject to approval by the curator,” the former Barclays Bank boss said. “(But) we have not really put our heads together so it has not been fully considered.”

Takawira however would not say how many plans they were working on.

Under the Gwatiringa plan, major shareholders and depositors will join forces in taking up equity in the collapsed bank, while small depositors will be paid off from troubled bank funds from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

However, it hinges largely on the attitude of large depositors taking up or converting their debts into equity.

Frank Kuipa of Ernst & Young has been running CFX after the bank’s placement under curatorship in December last year.

The bank was plunged into crisis after rigorous internal audits, ordered by Takawira, uncovered long-running losses of $115 billion and which damage was not disclosed to new investors — including Sean Maloney and the chairman himself.

Takawira would not say whether they would pursue moves to unwind the CFX Financial Services merger with the former Century Holdings Ltd. It came into effect in July last year.

On his personal exposure and investment in CFX, the former Finance secretary could not comment on claims that he had invested R1,2 million of his personal money and part Barclays Bank plc emolument to acquire a significant stake in the failed bank.

Those with knowledge of his equity holding put it at 6-8%, but Takawira said: “It would be improper to discuss about all those issues outside the curator’s knowledge.

Takawira, who served the Barclays group in various capacities in Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa, and is a renowned tobacco farmer, said he held only one percent as at October 2004.

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