Time Bank curator clings on to assets

THE curator of Time Bank, Tinashe Rwodzi of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, is still holding on to the bank’s assets almost 16 months after his term as curator ended.


Rwodzi was supposed to hand over the assets to Time Bank&#8217

;s directors and shareholders when his term ended on June 30 2006.


Businessdigest however understands that Rwodzi, who was in charge since the bank was placed under curatorship in March 2004, has been refusing to make a procedural handover of the assets to the shareholders and directors.


Rwodzi has been insisting on a symbolic handover which Time directors argue would contravene the Banking Act.


A procedural handover and takeover will involve the verification of a company’s account balances, assets, liabilities and treasury valuables. The process is supposed to be done by both parties — the curator and the directors of the bank.


The directors of the financial institution are also allowed to appoint an independent auditor to verify the curator’s assessment and the state of the company at the time of the handover.


A symbolic handover means that the curator will surrender the bank’s assets without verification by the shareholders of the financial institution. It is normally done away from the bank.


The danger is that there will be no accountability on the state of the bank at the time of the handover. Once the shareholders accept the company from the curator they will have no recourse if they discover anomalies.


Rwodzi wrote a letter to Time directors on July 4 last year inviting them to a meeting to make a symbolic handover of the assets. The directors however refused to attend the meeting arguing that a symbolic handover would not be procedural under banking regulations.


They also said the proposed meeting did not have a clear agenda and had been given on short notice. In their letter of reply the directors said they wanted the curator to follow the proper accounting systems during handover and takeover. They said a procedural handover would allow them to check the state of their assets and verify any changes that the curator might have made during his time at the bank.


“By insisting on a symbolic takeover the curator is denying us the chance to make him accountable for his action,” said one of the Time Bank directors.


“He is saying we must blindly take over a bank we have not been running for the past three years. How do we know what has been moved or tampered with? That is wrong under good corporate governance principles.”


The impasse is far from over with Rwodzi sticking to his decision arguing that he was acting on instructions from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). He has since written to the directors advising them to make an appeal to the central bank if they have any queries with his decisions.


Time directors have written back to the curator reminding him that the buck stops with him because he was in charge of the bank for three years. In that letter, the directors said an appeal to the central bank would not be procedural under the Banking Act.


“We suspect that his proposal for us to appeal to the central bank is meant to trap us,” said the directors.


“If we appeal to the central bank, the curator will become a mere witness instead of being the chief player in the whole issue.” — Staff Writer.

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