HomeBusiness DigestManager fired over Econet share deal

Manager fired over Econet share deal

Shakeman Mugari

THE Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) has fired its general manager for the stockbroking division on allegations of front-running on the stock market and “gross negligence”.

Edward Mapokotera, who was the general manager for the stockbroking arm of the bank, formed out of the ashes of two collapsed banks, was fired last week.

Officials at ZABG said the group had parted ways with Mapokotera following a botched deal in which he bought some 400 000 Econet shares.

It is understood he was shown the exit door after he also failed to perform according to what the parties had agreed in his contract of employment.

However, officials said it was the Econet deal that got him dismissed. It is understood that it was a stockbroker under Mapokotera who bungled the deal.

Businessdigest understands the ZABG broker was instructed by TN Financial Services to buy Econet shares on the market. The broker then bought all the Econet shares which were at that time worth $7 billion.

The deal however turned sour when the TN officials refused to accept the parcel saying they could not pay for it because their daily limit was $3 billion.

Sources said TN officials disowned the parcel and ZABG could not force them to take it because the deal was struck over the phone.

“After the TN officials refused to pay for the shares ZABG had to fork out the money to settle the bill which it had not planned,” said a source. “The shares were later disposed of at a lower price leaving the bank with a $2 billion loss, aggravating the bank’s financial woes.”

The source said Mapokotera was fired because he was the general manager in charge of the operations of the arm and responsible for all deals. The shares were bought at $20 000 each and sold at $15 000.

ZABG management is understood to have been infuriated that Makopotera acted negligently by allowing the broker to go into a transaction without written agreement with the client. He had also allowed the broker to exceed his limit of $2 billion.

Management then fired him for “negligence and gross incompetence”.

A ZABG spokesperson confirmed that Mapokotera had been dismissed but refused to disclose reasons behind his departure.

“Yes Mapokotera is no longer with us but it is not our business and even ethical to disclose people’s human rights records,” said the spokesperson.

“We do not have a comment with regards to the reason why he left.” ZABG came out of the ashes of Trust Bank and Royal Bank, which collapsed last year.

Since its formation the bank has been battling to find its feet and is now contemplating retrenching some of its employees. The group also plans to close down some branches it took over from the failed banks. However, Mapokotera yesterday insisted that he was still an employee of ZABG.

“I am still an employee of the bank,” he maintained. Asked whether he had indeed been fired for a bungled deal, Mapokotera referred all questions to the ZABG. “Well, for that you will need to talk to the ZABG guys directly,” he said before switching off his phone.

Emmanuel Munyukwi, ZSE chief executive, was in a meeting at the time of going to press. However, it is understood that the ZSE could be moving in to investigate issues of front-running.

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