We are solvent: Time Bank

Shakeman Mugari


TIME Bank’s shareholders have angrily dismissed the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s claims that the bank is insolvent, saying it is the central bank that is frustrating their efforts to repay depositors by refusing to release audited accounts

to facilitate the payments.

The shareholders told businessdigest yesterday that they believed Time Bank had enough money to reopen and pay off depositors but the RBZ was blocking their efforts to verify the financial position of the bank by denying them its audited accounts.

“We insist that the bank is solvent, otherwise why are they refusing to give us audited accounts for the period it was under curatorship?” said one of the shareholders.

“If the bank is insolvent then why are they sitting on its accounts? In any case how can we capitalise the bank without knowing the current position?”

The RBZ this week issued a statement saying Time Bank was insolvent and its shareholders had failed to recapitalise the bank forcing the RBZ to cancel its operating licence.

The statement, which has since elicited an angry response from Time owners, said that the shareholders had failed to raise funds to repay creditors and depositors.

“During the period that the institution was under curatorship, the curator engaged Time Bank’s shareholders in discussions to find a way to restore the institution to a safe and sound condition, to no avail,” the statement said.
 
However, in what could turn out to be another protracted legal battle, Time owners yesterday fired a broadside at the RBZ accusing it of misleading the public to justify the closure of the bank and eventual liquidation.

They said they were willing to recapitalise and repay depositors upon the production of the financial statement of the bank by the curator, Tinashe Rwodzi of PricewaterhouseCoopers and the RBZ.

The shareholders said the RBZ had to first prove that the bank was insolvent by producing audited accounts.

“We insist that the bank has enough money unless they prove otherwise by way of audited accounts,” said the shareholders.

The shareholders said the RBZ had refused to release the audited accounts despite numerous letters from Time Bank directors to do so.

They said they wanted the accounts to verify the financial position of the bank before they could recapitalise and repay its creditors.

Businessdigest is in possession of Time Bank’s letters to the central bank and the curator requesting the accounts.

“On behalf of the shareholders of Time Bank of Zimbabwe Limited, we would like to request audited financial statements of the Bank for the year ending December 31 2004, to enable the shareholders to consider the recapitalisation of the bank from an informed position,” said one of the letters dated July 31, 2005.

Businessdigest however understands that the RBZ and the curator did not respond to that letter together with three others that followed later.

“We started writing letters requesting the audited accounts in June 2005 but up to now we have not got responses. How can we recapitalise the bank without audited accounts.”

Time this week said they were still going ahead with their plans to pay off depositors pending the release of the accounts by the curator and the central bank.