HomeBusiness DigestAfrAsia workers’ wages locked up in bank

AfrAsia workers’ wages locked up in bank

It never rains for employees of AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe Ltd, which was closed on Tuesday last week, as it emerged this week that a significant chunk of their January and February salaries are locked in the bank, businessdigest has established.

Kudzai Kuwaza

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Tuesday cancelled AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe’s operating licence after determining that the financial institution was no longer in a sound financial condition.

“Members of the public are advised that on February 24 2015, the Registrar of Banking Institutions cancelled AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe Ltd’s licence in terms of section 14 (4) of the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20],” the RBZ said.

“The cancellation followed board resolutions by AfrAsia Zimbabwe Holdings Ltd (the shareholder) and AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe Ltd (the bank) to voluntarily surrender the banking licence.”

Some of the workers told businessdigest that they could only access their salaries in dribs and drabs from their AfrAsia accounts because of the acute financial difficulties the bank was going through. Workers, however did receive US$135 each as part of their February salaries with the rest locked up in their accounts.

“We had not finished taking our money from our accounts when the bank closed as we could only get it. It is a very difficult situation,” one of the affected workers said.

The workers are now pinning their hopes on getting their outstanding salaries from the Deposit Protection Corporation which will pay in full up to US$500 to more than 18 000 affected depositors of the financial institution.

However, some workers fear that their outstanding salaries could be used to offset loans they received from the bank, leaving them empty handed.

Most workers at the bank received loans of up to US$3 000. The workers said they were caught by surprise on Tuesday last week when they were ordered by RBZ officials to pack up their belongings and leave after announcing that the bank had been shut down.

The RBZ officials, however, held a meeting with the employees the following day at the bank’s First Street branch, formally informing them that the bank had been closed, the workers said.

The closure of AfrAsia on Tuesday last week, informed sources said, was as a result of the investor, AfrAsia retreating due to huge liabilities of more than US$100 million, low capitalisation levels and a damaged reputation stemming from a costly legal wrangle.

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