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Shareholders to reclaim Time Bank

Shakeman Mugari

THE two-year-old Time Bank saga has taken a new twist amid revelations that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will next week hand over the bank to its

founding shareholders.

The handover comes despite the decision by the RBZ to cancel Time’s operating licence last month. The RBZ claimed the bank could no longer maintain enough assets to safeguard its creditors and maintain prescribed minimum capital requirements.

Time has however appealed to the High Court against the cancellation.

Sources told businessdigest that the bank would be handed back to shareholders early in July.

The handover follows the expiry of Time’s curatorship today. Time has been under curatorship since its disputed closure by the RBZ in October 2004.

Sources said communication regarding the expected handover has been going on for the past three weeks between the curator, Tinashe Rwodzi of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Time shareholders and central bank officials.

Despite claims by the curator that the bank is insolvent, Time’s directors and major shareholders said in a statement this week that the bank was prepared to open its doors to the public.

In a statement, Time Bank Investment Company (Pvt), the major shareholders in Time, said they would be able to repay their creditors once the bank was handed back to shareholders. The statement said the bank was still solvent, contrary to findings by the curator that it was unable to pay its creditors.

“Time Bank will be in a position to pay all the depositors and creditors who wish to withdraw or to be paid their money, after the institution has been formerly handed back to its shareholders and directors,” said the statement seen by businessdigest.

The shareholders said the payments would be made after the verification of the accounts that would have been submitted by the curator.

“To avoid certain risks, the payments will be subject to the account balances being genuine and verifiable.”

The return of Time to shareholders is understood to have little potential of holding back an ongoing legal battle between the major shareholders of the bank and the central bank which shareholders have taken to court over the initial decision to close the bank in October 2004.

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