Ngoni Chanakira/Shakeman Mugari
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe boss Gideon Gono on Wednesday told ruling Zanu PF parliamentarians that he won’t be intimidated by anybody while he cleans up the rot in the country’s
financial services sector.
The move comes as several MPs have allegedly been seeking audience with the new governor to try and find out what his “hit-list” looks like.
Gono, who took over as RBZ boss on December 1, has already read the riot act and sent two financial institutions – ENG Asset Management and Century Discount House – packing for failure to adhere to new RBZ regulations.
He has also evicted six banks – Trust, Time, Agribank, Metropolitan, Century and Barbican – from the clearing house auction system for flouting RBZ regulations.
“Members of Parliament will be lobbied to try and see whether my agenda is regional, sectoral or personal,” Gono told stunned Zanu PF MPs. “We (RBZ) have no axe to grind with anybody. Nothing beats credibility than issuing a threat which you don’t carry out.”
The RBZ boss told businessdigest in his first exclusive interview last month that the time for politicians and business executives to hide behind fingers while the economy collapsed was over.
He said there was rampant corruption within the financial services industry that needed to be tackled immediately.
“I can safely say I have consulted widely and will be responsible for all that is in my Monetary Policy Statement,” Gono told businessdigest in the interview. “I think both politicians and business leaders should now come clean on issues as we tackle them once and for all.”
Insiders said there was now panic within the financial services sector as the governor’s broom continues to sweep each room.
“Some of the bureaux de change operating from homes were being run by top government officials and some provincial tycoons and now they are afraid the net is closing in on them,” said a source within Zanu PF.
Gono said: “We mean business and we are serious about solving the economic ills of the country.”
Meanwhile, Gono has warned banks to tighten their internal control systems to curb the increasing fraud cases within the financial sector.
In a statement the governor said there was a clear indication that some banks were not taking measures to deal with the security loopholes that are manipulated by internal staff to siphon millions from the system.
“In the majority of the cases, insiders, or the banks’ own staff have been involved in the actual perpetration of these crimes,” said the statement.
“The cases clearly indicate the inadequacy or laxity of the institution’s internal control systems in place.”
The statement said the cases of forgery of security documents further showed that there was a total lack of management control and oversight over day-to-day banking operations.
It said banks should constantly review the strength of their risk management systems to ensure early detection and identification of loopholes.
Two years ago the RBZ issued Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines to be applied by all registered banks.
The guidelines required banks to implement strong internal controls, information systems and accounting controls in relation to their operations.
Cases of fraud have been on the increase.
Trust Holdings Ltd was recently defrauded of $7,7 billion by employees.
Such cases, said the central bank, would erode public confidence in the banking sector.
The bank said some employees in local banks were using confidential information to unlawfully access client’s accounts.