Zimbabwean bank bosses accused of stuffing billions into offshore accounts
Zimbabwean bank CEOs are wasting their income in foreign currency instead of going to the local financial institutions they run, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo revealed ( photo), citing a survey conducted by his organization. .
Zacc’s boss said bankers were wasting money overseas. They only keep local currency accounts, but they receive substantial amounts of hard currency in the form of salaries and benefits.
It comes as Permanent Finance Secretary George Guvamatanga, former managing director of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, told a local weekly in an interview last week that he was paid millions of US dollars overseas.
Guvamatanga said this in a bid to justify his lavish 50th birthday and reckless spending on a razzmatazz night featuring South African musicians which he paid five times more than the agreed performance fee.
Many Zimbabwean businessmen, including tycoons like Billy Rautenbach and some unknown entrepreneurs, mostly of Asian (Indian) origin, have bank accounts in Switzerland and other financial jurisdictions abroad.
A report from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project on how Zimbabwean tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei made his money from the Trafigura group indicates that he has an offshore account with a Swiss bank.
Rautenbach’s business empire was also revealed last week in the Pandora Papers, the world’s elite’s biggest covert financial deal leak. While it is not illegal to open an offshore account, complying with currency control and money laundering regulations is still a moot point in money transfer.
Hawks News – who works with various international investigative journalism networks – saw a long list of 700 names of Zimbabwean businessmen with bank accounts in Switzerland in a massive database that has yet to be released.
A mysterious local businessman had around US $ 150 million in his Swiss account, but the money was quickly withdrawn to US $ 7,000 within four years before the account was closed.
Details are given in the database. Some have bank accounts and properties in Dubai, for example a socialite operating in the aviation industry space. She has a property in Dubai.
Addressing delegates at the 2021 Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) congress in Victoria Falls this week, Matanda-Moyo said the failure of CEOs of financial institutions to bank their money with their own banks, as their study shows, further erodes confidence in the banking sector.
âConfidence is very essential and if we are to move forward we really need to build confidence. Let’s look at the banks. Bank CEOs do not deposit money with banks. We conducted this investigation, âshe said.
“So if the CEO of a bank doesn’t trust his own institution, who is going to deposit the money in those banks?” Anybody. This is the highest level of corruption. So we want to implore the CEOs of the banks to start doing banking operations, especially foreign currencies, in their banks, and then everyone will start putting their money in the bank, âsaid Matanda-Moyo.
Zacc’s revelation that the CEOs of Zimbabwe’s banks, who are paid in hard currency, do not bank locally, is a surprising development that speaks to the level of confidence in the local financial system and policies.
Research shows that overseas banking Zimbabweans prefer Switzerland, Dubai, Mauritius and the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory that encompasses three islands in the western Caribbean Sea.
Confidence in Zimbabwe’s banking sector is at an all-time low as individuals and businesses no longer trust the system. Bank closures and abuse of depositors’ funds were hallmarks of the factors that led to the erosion of confidence in the financial system.
Zacc’s boss accused the country’s private sector of being the main driver of corruption in the country.
âI think the private sector, you are the main culprit of corruption in Zimbabwe. We only started in government because we realized that if we started with the private sector, there would be an outcry as to why we started with not the government? Corruption in the private sector is the one that really damages Zimbabwe’s economy, âsaid Matanda-Moyo.
âTake, for example, tax evasion. Most businesses and individuals do not pay taxes. We have incorrect declarations at points of entry. When you import your goods, you misstate the values ââof those goods. On import, we have found that you love to inflate the numbers. Why? Because you will have outsourced most of the money, âshe said.
âThat’s why you’re wrong, and then you go back to saying these machines cost US $ 20,000 when they cost US $ 2,000. When you export, you minimize the prices. Why? Because you don’t want to pay the duties associated with that export. Matanda-Moyo said he investigated the export of tobacco to the Netherlands and found that tobacco companies had miscalculated export figures.
She said that in 2019 Zimbabwe’s National Statistics Agency had export figures well below the figures obtained independently by Zacc from the country’s trade destinations. Tobacco export figures to the Netherlands, for example, have shown that exporters grossly underestimate their numbers in that country, hurting the tax collector.
âIt’s private sector corruption. So you can see the amount of corruption perpetrated by the private sector, âshe said. – New hawks