HomeBusiness DigestTrust Bank assets moved to ZABG

Trust Bank assets moved to ZABG

Shakeman Mugari

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has continued to illegally transfer Trust Bank’s assets into the troubled Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) despite Trust’s

court challenge to the move.

The High Court is still to deliver judgement in the case in which Trust is disputing the take-over of its assets by the ZABG. It has however emerged that a $90 billion Grain Marketing Board (GMB) cheque meant to pay off its long-term debt to Trust was transferred into a ZABG account last week.

In their court application Trust argued that the ZABG was an illegal entity and should not be allowed to take over their assets. They are also disputing their inclusion in the new bank.

Royal Bank, which has also been swallowed into ZABG, is challenging the move and has made the same arguments in its application. Judgement on the issue was reserved on Monday after the judge said he needed more time to consider the matter.

Despite the pending judgements, ZABG has already started incorporating Trust and Royal assets into its books.

Sources say Trust curator Peter Bailey received the money from the GMB last week and immediately transferred it into the ZABG account to reflect on the bank’s assets.

The source said the debt, which has been outstanding for the past two years, had initially been written off after GMB had failed to service it.

Ironically, these are some of the non-performing loans owed to Trust Bank by a number of parastatals, which contributed to the collapse of the bank last year. A number of parastatals still owe billions to Trust.

The transfer of the $90 billion comes as former Trust employees are still battling to get their retrenchment packages.

The packages have been outstanding for the past 10 months. Trust owes $25 billion to 107 workers laid off in March last year when the bank was hit by a liquidity crunch.

The workers are furious that the curator has transferred the money to ZABG before he could meet Trust’s commitments to its creditors that include their packages. The workers say they were supposed to be paid off first because the bank was closed months after they were retrenched.

The curator has been evasive on the matter, workers say. He has referred the workers to the Reserve Bank, which insisted that they solve the matter with the curator.

In the meantime the curator has been debiting the workers’ current accounts for staff loans, which they owed to the bank. The workers have since accumulated huge overdrafts on their accounts from exorbitant interest rates.

This is however against a Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare directive that staff loans be settled after they receive their packages.

The workers have since instructed their lawyer to sue the RBZ, the curator and ZABG in a bid to get their packages and stop their accounts from sinking further into the red. Court papers were expected to be filed this week.

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