A NEW complication has arisen at troubled Trust Bank amid allegations by retrenched workers that the closed financial institution’s curator Peter Bailey was improperly appointed by the Reserve B
ank of Zimbabwe.
Bailey filed papers in the High Court last week seeking to recover company-issued vehicles being used by the retrenched bank workers. In opposing papers filed on Tuesday, the workers through their lawyers Honey & Blanckenberg contend that Bailey’s appointment was not in sync with the provisions of the Banking Act.
This could render the placement under curatorship null and void if the High Court, which will hear the case next Tuesday, upholds the argument of the retrenched workers.
Observers have said this would be a further dent in the Reserve Bank’s integrity especially in its dealing with Trust Bank. There are already allegations that the central bank had a hand in the collapse of the bank, which was put under curatorship on September 23.
In court documents to hand, retrenched workers have said Bailey had no authority to sue.
“I am aware that in terms of Section 51 (2) of the Banking Act Chapter 24:20,” said the retrenchees’ chair Brighton Potera in his opposing affidavit, “the Reserve Bank can place a bank into curatorship but before it does so, it must inform the banking institution concerned in writing of the action it proposes to take and afford the banking institution concerned an adequate opportunity to make representations in the matter. This to my knowledge was not done.”
Potera said Bailey was not appointed in terms of the relevant provision of the Banking Act. He said a curator appointed in terms of Section 53 of the Banking Act did not have powers of instituting legal proceeding on behalf of the institution concerned.
“…The curator lacks powers of instituting legal proceedings against any person. It therefore follows that this action (Bailey’s application) is null and void…” Potera said.
Bailey filed an urgent chamber application on Thursday last week seeking an order directing the retrenched workers to hand back vehicles to the bank. The workers have however averred that as part of their retrenchment package set down by the labour court, they were entitled to purchase the vehicles at 20% of the book value. They said this was agreed before the bank was put under curatorship and now belonged to the workers.