THE dispute over Time Bank took a surprise twist this week after shareholders spurned a “symbolic” handover of the bank by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) following the expiry of its curatorship.
The RBZ wanted to hand over Time Bank to the shareholders despite withdrawing the bank’s licence over a month ago.
Time Bank shareholders have since contested the withdrawal of the licence.
Businessdigest reported two weeks ago the RBZ’s offer to Time proprietors, who were prepared to pay off all depositors once the bank was handed back to them.
Norman Mataruka, head of Bank Licensing, Supervision and Surveillance at the central bank, had proposed to hand over the bank to Time directors at a meeting on Tuesday last week.
“You will appreciate the urgency of this matter and the need to conclude all outstanding issues pertaining to Time Bank,” Mataruka said in a letter dated June 30, a copy of which was seen by businessdigest.
The meeting’s agenda was called to discuss the consequences of the cancellation of Time’s operating licence as well as the “symbolic” handover of the company’s assets to the bank’s proprietors.
In their letter of reply, the directors flatly rejected the “symbolic handover”.
The handover failed to take place after the directors rejected the proposal, insisting that they would only accept the bank back on production of audited accounts by curator, Tinashe Rwodzi of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Rwodzi was in charge of the bank’s affairs for two years.
“However, for the purposes of our future meetings, we wish to make it clear that we are not agreeable to a symbolic handover of company assets by Mr Tinashe Rwodzi or handover through the post,” said Time shareholders in the letter to Mataruka dated July 6.
The directors said the handover should be subject to audited financial statements being submitted and a physical verification of assets and liabilities of the bank — including bank accounts — being produced.
Time Bank shareholders gave Rwodzi up to this week to produce audited financial statements of the institution prepared during the period of his curatorship.
The letter to Rwodzi, dated July 3, said the shareholders wanted the audited financial statements for the period or financial years ending December 31 2004, December 31 2005 and June 30 2006 to enable them to repay creditors.
The shareholders want the curator’s verification of assets and liabilities of the bank before accepting the bank back.
Businessdigest understands that Rwodzi was unlikely to comply with the shareholders’ demands without instructions from the RBZ which appointed him.
Businessdigest also understands that Time Bank directors had sought a meeting with Rwodzi this week.