The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe accuses Central bank of making false payment

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The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has accused the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) of making a false payment of $15,1 million for the fuel the parastatal supplied to farmers under a central bank quasi-fiscal facility in 2008.
Noczim is also accusing the central bank of tampering with its bank deposits amounting to $18 million.

The deposits – held by the RBZ – comprised $15,1 million “purportedly made by the RBZ into the Stanbic account on behalf of the farmers under an RBZ farmers’ facility” and $2,9 million made by Noczim’s customers into its ZB account, according to minutes of the company’s extraordinary board meeting held in April this year.

The matter came to light when Noczim payments to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and the Zimbabwe National Roads Agency (Zinara) could not be honoured allegedly owing to insufficient funds.

At the time Noczim sent the payment instructions, deposits made by its customers other than the RBZ were also not available, an indication that the central bank had diverted the funds.

The RBZ incurred the largest proportion of its $15,1 million debt – $13 million – when it set up a fuel facility for farmers and then requested Noczim to make fuel available to them through that arrangement.

By February last year, the central bank had only managed to offset $11,5 million through a reverse fuel supply to Noczim, leaving an outstanding balance of $6,5 million.

“Of this total amount of $18 million, the company accessed fuel worth $11,5 million purchased by RBZ leaving out a balance of $6,5 million as owing by RBZ to the company,” Noczim said in the minutes.

“The company sent payment instructions to its banker to pay Zimra and Zinara dues, these payments were not honoured.

The Ministry of Energy was advised of this position at the time it happened.”

The RBZ is also accused of sidetracking the foreign currency deposits of gold mining companies amounting to $35 million, as well as foreign currency belonging to non-governmental organisations and other foreign currency account holders during 2008.

To date, the monetary authorities have literally failed to pay back the improperly-acquired obligations, including redeeming gold bonds it issued to mining companies as payment.

The RBZ debt to Noczim has aggravated the beleaguered state-owned enterprise’s financial doldrums as it also owes a number of foreign suppliers of fuel over $90 million, as at March 20 this year, which it has no capacity to settle.

The government also owes the parastatal $2,2 million through fuel advances it received during the transition to the multi-currency system.

Government departments that owe the oil company include Airforce of Zimbabwe, District Development Fund headquarters, Ministry of Finance, Parliament of Zimbabwe, President’s Department, the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe National Army Staff College and Zimbabwe Republic Police.