Zim Reserve Bank Governor Against Bank Take Overs

Gono said he would now ask President Robert Mugabe to intervene and stop Kasukuwere’s crusade.
He was responding to a notice by Kasukuwere giving foreign banks a year to transfer 51 percent of their shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans.

In an unprecedented move, Gono took a swipe at Kasukuwere and National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board chairman, David Chapfika, for leading the crusade against foreign banks yet they once ran collapsed banks.

Chapfika used to own Unibank, which went under while Genesis where the minister had shares surrendered its banking license to the RBZ after it collapsed under serious debts.

 “The fact that the two main proponents of the recent illogical moves have presided over the failure of their two banks before, namely Unibank and Genesis call for Solomonic wisdom on the part of Zimbabwe’s population and leadership,” Gono said.

“Ordinarily, anyone who was near a failed bank is not a fit and proper person to deal with banking matters or to ever own, run or talk about the ownership of a bank again until cleared by the central bank. This is a universal practice.”

He reiterated his calls for Zimbabweans who wanted banking licenses to apply to the central bank to be given a chance to start their own banks.

“The example of Minister of Mines Dr O Mpofu who came forward with his money and sought permission to take over ZABG Bank which was ailing then is a case in point,” Gono said.

He said it also did not make sense for government to claim to be indigenising banks when the institutions held money on behalf of depositors.

“We gave him two years within which to regularise the ownership structure of that bank to a maximum of 25% for any single shareholder which he committed to do but for the time being he has put in money and is a 99,9% shareholder,” Gono said.

“Furthermore, it must be realised that the money in all these banks belongs to depositors and not foreigners except the equity components, which in most cases is less than 20% of the banks balance sheets and in any case that equity is tied up in operating capital assets such as furniture, fittings, land and buildings.

“The rest belongs to depositors and is not, as assumed by some, profit of the banks available for sharing the next day one becomes an owner.”