I Never Fled Zimbabwe – James Mushore

With a market capitalisation of about US$28 400 000, NMB Bank Limited is dually listed on the Zimbabwe and London Stock Exchanges.

Its share price currently stands US$0.02.

NMB Bank was the first indigenous owned and controlled bank to list on the ZSE under prominent banker, Dr Julius Makoni, as its Managing Director and Mushore as his Deputy.

In an exclusive interview, Mushore, dressed in a black suit, said he had, in fact, left the country 10 days before he is alleged to have “fled Zimbabwe”.

“I was in London at the time and did not flee the country,” he said. “What is being written about me is wrong and not factual. The warrant was issued 10 days after I had left the country and was in London.”

Mushore left Zimbabwe at a time when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, began what he termed a “cleansing ceremony” against virtually all the indigenous-owned and controlled commercial banks in Zimbabwe.

Gono, who had earlier led the government-controlled CBZ Holdings Limited (CBZ), closed the banks, accusing the black tycoons of flouting various RBZ stringent regulations and externalising foreign currency.

“What do you mean by externalisation,” asked Mushore. “We (banking sector) were employing about 3 000 people who then became unemployed.”

Banks owned and managed by black Zimbabweans such as Trust Bank Limited (Trust) under the Trust Financial Holdings Limited Group led by William Nyemba, Royal Bank Zimbabwe Limited (Royal) then under tycoon Jeoffrey Mzwimbi, Time Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (Time) and Muthuli Ncube’s commercial bank, were closed.

Mogul, Nigel Chanakra of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL) was also caught in the snare and left for South Africa for a while while Gono went on with his business of closing the “black empires”.

Chanakira, Nyemba, Makoni, Ncube and Mushore left for the Diaspora during this time.

“The financial sector was the first sector where indigenisation really began,” Mushore said. “And then we go and close the sector that is leading the nation. I think was wrong.”

He said he was, however, very happy that the financial services sector was regaining its strength since the days of dollarization.

“People are now putting their money in banks again,” Mushore said. “This shows confidence in the banking sector. I think once we get the cash crisis over with then we can see this sector regaining its top position. Zimbabwe has great bankers and we can show for this.”