HomePoliticsIMF to probe Zim's source of debt funds

IMF to probe Zim’s source of debt funds

Shakeman Mugari

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) plans to visit Zimbabwe to investigate the source of the funds the Reserve Bank used to repay part of its debt to the fund.

T face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Zimbabwe last month made a hasty US$120 million payment to the IMF to avoid imminent expulsion after defaulting on its loan for the past five years.

The IMF’s visit indicates it is not satisfied with RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s explanation that the money was sourced from exports and gold proceeds.

Gono earlier this month tried to quash claims of forcible liquidation of individual foreign currency accounts saying government raised the money from exports and gold proceeds. He published a list of banks and other sources of the money.

The team is expected in the country early next month to verify claims that the money was taken from individual FCAs.

Embattled businessman Mutumwa Mawere, whose company SMM was taken over by government, complained to the IMF that some of the money used to pay part of the debt was taken from his companies. Mawere this week confirmed that the IMF has received his letters of complaint but had not indicated their next course of action.

“I told the IMF that my companies have been taken over by government and that the proceeds from these companies had been used to pay the IMF,” Mawere said. He said if the money used was legitimately acquired the government should have reflected it in the budget which defines and explains government expenditure.

“My point is that the money used does not reflect in the budget and was not presented to parliament and approved. They took money from my companies. How can a government that operates in such a non-transparent manner expect everyone in the country to operate transparently?”

Sources said the investigation team would try to verify Mawere’s claims and those of other individuals who claim to have been prejudiced by government. In addition to government and the central bank, the investigation team is expected to meet corresponding banks of foreign financial institutions which Gono claimed released export funds he used to pay part of the debt.

The team will also meet businesspeople, industry and other economic groups as part of their inquiry. An IMF official recently said the fund expected the Zimbabwe authorities to come clean on allegations of expropriating funds. “The board has, of course, asked us when we get back to them next time to verify the source of funds. Money is fungible,” the official said. “It is something we need to talk to the authorities about. Also, it is something the authorities need to address themselves in a transparent and open manner, and I hope they will do so soon.”

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