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RMB remains shut

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The re-opening of doors to the banking public at Renaissance Merchant Bank (RMB), which was set for on Monday has been postponed to allow the curator more time to complete the handover-takeover process.

RMB was placed under curatorship for six months at the beginning of the month.

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono said investigations uncovered systematic abuse of depositors’ funds, high level of non-performing insider and related party exposures that included a $9,8 million loan to former CEO Patterson Timba.

In a statement yesterday, the curator Reggie Francis Saruchera of Grant Thronton and Camelsa, said the bank would now be opened on July 4.

“This extension will allow the curator to complete the handover or takeover process as well as finalise evaluation of the various initiatives under consideration,” Saruchera said.

“The curator considers this action to be in the best interest of ReNaissance Merchant Bank, its depositors and creditors and the banking system at large.

“We implore the public to exercise patience and continue to support the bank during the period under review.”

Meanwhile a notice of set down has been issued for the urgent chamber application filed by Econet Wireless in which the mobile phone operator is seeking to bar ReNaissance Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL) from disposing of a 30% stake in Africa First Corporation (Afre).

RFHL and ReNaissance Merchant Bank are the first and second respondents respectively.

High Court judge Justice Susan Mavangira last week ruled that the application was urgent and would be set down on Wednesday.

“Take notice that this matter is set down for hearing on the 22nd day of June 2011 at 1500hrs before Mavangira J,” reads the set down.

Last week Mavangira ruled that application was urgent despite opposition from the respondents.

Econet wants the court to stop the National Social Security Authority from bailing out RMB, which has since been placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank.

Econet is arguing the 30% shareholding it is claiming is in lieu of money which it deposited with RMB, which was reported to have been abused by the bank.

RMB later offered Econet shares in Afre as security until the time it is able to pay back the misused funds.

As part of its bid to block new investors, Econet asked the High Court to possess Afre Corporation share certificates pending final determination of its application.

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