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CBZ vows to thwart dodgy transactions

Melody Chikono

CBZ Holdings Limited has vowed to stop dodgy transactions involving political bigwigs that had blighted the bank’s operations over the years.

CBZ Holdings board chairperson Marc Holtzman in an interview this week said he would ensure fundamentals are observed insisting any deviation from values of integrity would not be tolerated.

The bank, still reeling from a US$385 million penalty by United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) for numerous financial transactions done on behalf of ZB bank, then under economic sanctions, has in the past been involved in handling other questionable transactions.

CBZ was involved in the Command Agriculture programme whereby it processed in excess of US$3 billion worth of transactions that were not invoiced. It was also fingered in the facilitation of the alleged externalisation of about US$1,5 million by Vice-President’s wife Marry Chiwenga.

But Holtzman said while he could not be held responsible for what happened in the past, he would make things right going forward.“So I cannot be held accountable for things that have happened before I got here. But I can be responsible for what is happening now and I’m proud to take full responsibility. We brought on board several months ago a much respected internal auditor and I’m even doing external audits in every department here. Any deviation from integrity will not be tolerated. Absolutely we are ready to separate politics from business,” he said.

“It’s mentioned in the CBZ charter that the government as the largest shareholder recommends that chairman and it’s under that pretext that the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) reached out to me. And when he did, he told me two things. He said Marc I assure you that you that there will never be any undue government influence in any internal decisions and I’m giving you the full authority to make any decisions in the organisation that you need to be made.

Holtzman said he had no history of leading an institute where one shareholder presides over others adding that it was his mandate to ensure sanity prevailed at the financial institution.

“Yes I have met him (Kuda Tagwirei). I know most of our major shareholders. So let me address that. If you look at the results that I had in these institutions where I’ve been responsible for transformations, you will see that I have never led an organisation with any shareholders that have had any different influence than others. I deeply believe in corporate governance and transparency and I hope that’s one of the reason swhy the President reached out to me,” he said.

Holtzman said the bank is set to announce the board of directors soon. “What you would see is that these are not people who would want to be associated with an organisation that has anything less than sterling corporate governance. We are recruiting the best talent and we have also some women joining the board as well.

l See interview on page 12

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