NMB whistleblower demands $33 billion

Itai Mushekwe

A WHISTLEBLOWER in NMB Bank’s foreign currency case is demanding a staggering $33 billion from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for his efforts in providing incriminating evidence against the

financial institution.


Robson Chapfika has filed a High Court application demanding US$246 047 ($19 254 900 079 at a rate of $79 257), R570 000 ($6 785 850 000 at rate of $11 904), 300 euro ($27 291 900 at rate of $90 973), £28 500 ($3 832 053 000 at a rate of $134 458) and 221 000 pula ($3 046 485 000 at rate of $13 785), being 10% of the recovered value of the forex allegedly mishandled by the bank.


In his maiden monetary policy statement in December 2003 RBZ governor Gideon Gono announced the setting up of a whistleblower’s fund to reward those who provided tangible evidence of economic crimes resulting in the recovery of monies. There has been controversy around the scheme as another high-profile whistleblower in the Mutumwa Mawere case has claimed the RBZ has not paid him.


In the court papers to hand, Chapfika, who cites the RBZ as the sole respondent, said the evidence he provided to the central bank met the criteria for quality information as it mentioned the nature of the crime, being the sale of foreign currency to unauthorised dealers and named the illegal dealers and NMB as being the company involved.


He said the information also mentioned the method of commission of the offence as the externalisation of funds.


“Acting on the information supplied by the plaintiff,” said Chapfika in the papers, “and pursuant to a meeting between the defendant’s officials, plaintiff and the police details from the Zimbabwe Republic Police Special Investigations Unit, the police prepared two dockets upon which NMB Bank Ltd and four of its directors were charged and convicted of selling foreign currency to an unauthorised dealer without the authority of the Exchange Control (authorities),” a court document said.


The bank pleaded guilty to the criminal charges and was fined about $1,4 billion and an additional sum of US$1,7 million was forfeited to the state.


Chapfika said the RBZ, by inviting whistleblowers, had entered into a contract and acting on that offer, he provided quality information that was not only prosecutable and credible but also led to a conviction.


He said the RBZ had managed to recover the entire value involved in the alleged illegal foreign currency transactions.


It was not clear at the time of going to press whether the RBZ had filed papers to defend the case.