LISTED financial services group BancABC’s Constitutional Court appeal in its case against a Belgian diamond company, Mackie Diamonds BVBA will be heard on Monday before Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku even though the bank has since released to the company R86 million it had seized to offset a debt.
Information obtained yesterday showed the case has been set down for Monday midday or soon after before Chidyausiku in chambers as the bank tries to reverse previous contested rulings by the High Court and Supreme Court over the case.
The Supreme Court had ordered attachment of the BancABC assets last Tuesday before it wired the money to Mackie Diamonds BVBA in Antwerp on Wednesday. The properties were attached briefly on Wednesday before the bank returned the money.
BancABC sent the money to Mackie Diamonds BVBA from Harare via Standard Bank of South Africa, calming down the markets and customers after the drama which occurred when there were efforts to attach its property over the US$11 million it had seized while it was being transferred to Mackie Diamonds BVBA as it thought its client, Jamal Joseph Hamed, who owed it a bigger amount had something to do with the transaction.
Hamed, who runs Premier Diamonds and other companies in Dubai and Belgium, had been given the money in March 2011 in a botched diamond deal but failed to repay the full amount to the bank. The original sum was US$20 million.
After the diamond deal fell through, the bank says it came across evidence that some money which was being transferred to Mackie Diamonds had something to do with Hamed and then seized it trying to offset the debt. This led to the current court battles.
In February, the bank resisted a writ of execution after a judgment by High Court Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe which ordered it to transfer R86 986 075,44 to Mackie Diamonds by close of business on Saturday, February 9.
The bank appealed to Supreme Court, protesting it was only given 30 minutes to prepare for the case, besides that it could not implement the order on a half banking day. It also believes it was right to seize the money as it was owed a bigger amount than that.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said yesterday developments at BancABC should not worry depositors as the matter has been resolved. “We have followed developments at the bank carefully and all issues have been resolved that depositors should not panic.
Confidence in the banking sector should not be eroded.
Meanwhile, the RBZ has extended the curatoship period for Interfin Banking Corporation from June 9 to December 31, 2013.
In a statement yesterday, the central bank said the extension had been necessitated by the need to conclude capitalisation and loan recovery initiatives aimed at resuscitating the bank, for which the curator had made significant progress.
Interfin was placed under recuperative curatorship in June last year after it was found to be in an unsound financial position.