DIFFERENCES have emerged between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and the curator’s reports on the value of Royal Bank assets.
>There were also revelations this week that Royal Bank curator Robert McIndoe paid himself a whopping $6 billion in fees and spent a further $9 billion on operational costs.
Gono said in his monetary policy review statement last month that the curator’s report indicated that Royal Bank’s assets were worth $17,43 billion. The statement indicated that Gono used a curator’s report dated September 30, 2004.
However, McIndoe’s report, also dated Septemebr 30, 2004, reveals a totally different picture. The report in possession of this paper shows Royal’s assets are worth $31,3 billion.
This is $12 billion more than the $17,43 billion figure the governor attributes to the same curator’s report in his statement.
It is however the same figure which the central bank uses to justify Royal Bank’s placement under a curator.
Experts say the discrepancies damage the credibility of the curator and the RBZ itself. They also cast doubts on the commitment of the central bank to stick to the curator’s reports.
There are now fears that the report could have been “sexed up” to justify the bank’s take-over by the RBZ and the decision to incorporate it in the controversial Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG). It has heightened scepticism about the role of curators.
In his report, McIndoe said Royal’s balance sheet consisted of vehicles worth $3,9 billion and movable property valued at $9 billion.
However, the property list compiled by the curator leaves out key assets worth more than $7 billion.
The valuation in the report does not include Royal’s automated teller machines (ATMs) with a total value of $6 billion.
Royal Bank has 18 ATMs each worth about US$50 000. The curator valuations also do not include Royal Bank’s accounting system, Globus, valued at US$2 million.
Meanwhile, the High Court is yet to deliver judgement in the case in which Royal directors are challenging the take-over of their bank by ZABG. The judgement is now expected next week.
The directors were led by Jeffrey Mzwimbi.
The directors argue that the values used in the acquisition contain gross misrepresentations and the acquisition was therefore not conducted in accordance with the law.
In their court application, they also state that the powers of the directors and shareholders were suspended in terms of the law. “However, although the law suspends the powers of shareholders of a bank under curatorship, it does not suspend their rights,” the directors said.
Royal argues that since it is now under the curator, it is unable to protect itself from any unlawful actions by the RBZ.