POLICE this week arrested the chief executive of the troubled Royal Bank Jeffery Mzwimbi and his co-director Durajadi Simba over an allegation of fraud. <
The two were picked up on Wednesday afternoon and taken to Highlands Police station where they were held overnight before being transferred to the fraud section of Harare Central Police station.
Assistant police commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrests.
“We arrested them on Wednesday afternoon and we are still holding them for further investigations,” said Bvudzijena yesterday.
“It is in connection with a fraud case at Royal Bank where the two were senior officials.”
Bvudzijena said police were still to prefer charges against Mzwimbi and Simba.
“We are still interviewing them and they are in detention. We are yet to decide when they should appear in court,” said Bvudzijena. He could not reveal the nature of the fraud or the amounts involved, insisting police were still working on the case.
Their lawyers Scanlen & Holderness confirmed that the two had been were arrested.
“We can confirm that our clients Mzwimbi and Simba were arrested and we are in the process of verifying their charges so we can prepare for the case,” said the lawyers.
Royal Bank was placed under curatorship in August after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) discovered that it was in an unstable financial position. The RBZ said the bank was in dire straits owing to imprudent banking practices.
Sources said the bank had sunk into the red because of bad insider loans that were allocated to directors and senior managers without following proper safeguards. Although Bvudzijena could not be drawn into giving details, sources close to the issue said the fraud case could have contributed to the sudden closure of the bank.
Mzwimbi and Simba are the first directors of a banking institution to be arrested since the crack down on corruption started earlier this year. Others have fled the country before arrest such as NMB Bank, Intermarket and Barbican Bank directors.