INDIGENISATION minister Patrick Zhuwao is demanding a review of the sale of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe to a Malawian financial institution, saying the deal might have violated Zimbabwe’s laws, it has emerged.
By Everson Mushava
The British bank early this year sold its Zimbabwe unit to Malawi’s First Merchant Bank amid protests from local Barclays workers.
The deal is waiting regulatory approval but a letter written by Zhuwao to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa dated June 22 reveals that the takeover faces serious hurdles.
Zhuwao told Chinamasa that he had received objections from Barclays managers and he wanted the government to investigate if the deal met Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws.
“Honourable Chinamasa, I have received correspondence, dated June 6 2017, from the legal practitioners representing the management level employees of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited,” the minister wrote.
“The correspondence expresses objection to the approval of the sale of Barclays PLC shares in Afcarme Zimbabwe constituting 67,68% shareholding in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Limited,”
“It is my understanding that the indigenisation and economic empowerment legislation requires that at least 51% of the shares of any business shall be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.”
Zhuwao said the presidential statement of April 11 2016 reaffirmed that institutions within the financial services sector must establish “employee share ownership schemes”.
Chinamasa and Zhuwao have in the past clashed over the implementation of the indigenisation law when it comes to the financial services sector.
President Robert Mugabe last year was forced to intervene after the ministers clashed publicly.