HomePoliticsParly to Debate Alleged RBZ Excesses

Parly to Debate Alleged RBZ Excesses

PARLIAMENT will on Wednesday debate the alleged unauthorised use of Africa University (AU)’s foreign currency by the Reserve Bank resulting in the stalling of projects at the campus.

The central bank allegedly abused the funds that were deposited in the Mutare-based university’s foreign currency account (FCA).

According to the House of Assembly order paper for next week, MPs would debate the case.

The order paper did not state how much was allegedly abused or the source of the hard currency.

Finance minister Tendai Biti, a critic of central bank governor Gideon Gono, is expected to give an explanation of what happened to the AU funds.

The central bank is answerable to the Ministry of Finance. The alleged misappropriation of AU funds came barely a week after Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told civic leaders that an International Monetary Fund team that was in Zimbabwe recently claimed that the central bank owed Zimbabweans US$1 billion in unaccounted-for funds after the dollarisation of the economy.

Mutambara said the government would soon amend the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act and reform the bank before deciding on the fate of Gono.

He said the IMF team had raised concerns on some “areas of activity” by the central bank.

The alleged raiding of FCAs by the central bank is nothing new. The Global Fund for the Fight against HIV and Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria last year initially declined to allocate further funds to Zimbabwe after the central bank allegedly misappropriated money the World Health Organisation had deposited with it.

The Global Fund demanded that Zimbabwe return US$7,3 million it had misused.

The missing US$7,3 million was part of the US$12,3 million that was allocated to Zimbabwe last year for distribution of drugs. The debate in parliament on the missing AU foreign currency would come at a time when there are growing concerns about alleged abuse of state funds by the central bank.

An ongoing audit of the farm mechanisation programme has already revealed corruption implicating some of the bank’s senior officials, among them head of the Agricultural Mechanisation and Small to Medium Enterprises Support Division, Mordecai Masakwa.

Masakwa, who is on the run, is accused together with a farmer of fraudulently acquiring four generators, a motorbike, 15 knapsacks and other implements valued at US$35 100 through the farm mechanisation scheme.

Parliament on Wednesday is also expected to continue questioning Home Affairs ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa on alleged use of torture by state security agents.

BY LOUGHTY DUBE

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