AN international bank, HSBC Bank has allegedly ordered freezing of accounts held by Zimbabwean expatriates and nationals saying Zimbabwe was under sanctions.
Account holders with the bank, which is situated at the Channel Islands located between the South Coast of the United Kingdom and Northern France, confirmed the development, saying they could no longer effect any transactions with the bank.
Gladys Siwela, one of the account holders said she had been banking with HSBC as an advanced client since the 1990s, but was surprised this week when she deposited money into the account, but her transaction was not processed.
“I have held an HSBC account since the 1990s as I was a Zimbabwean expatriate working in Uganda and at the beginning of this year in February, they sent me a letter saying now that I was no longer an expatriate I could not continue using their product as it was meant for expatriates only,” said Siwela.
“They demanded that I provide an address outside Zimbabwe to prove I was an expatriate and I gave them a South African address and they sent me a statement saying I could now transact via the internet, but yesterday when I tried to send money into the account via internet I failed to access my account,” she said.
Siwela said she phoned the bank and was put through to their centre in India where she was told she could no longer access the account because it had been closed.
“They later told me the only truth is that HSBC has made a decision that they were putting Zimbabwe on sanctions and they were freezing any accounts held by Zimbabwean nationals. My brother’s friend in Burundi has confirmed his account has also been closed. They are closing accounts even of white Zimbabweans and I hear many white farmers have also been affected,” she said.
NewsDay contacted the bank on Friday, but failed to get a comment about the matter as the person who was said to be able to give a response was not in office.
“Give us your telephone numbers and we will get back to you as the person authorised to comment is not available at the moment,” said the lady who answered the phone.
“May I request you to put your request in writing to our Head Office at HSBC Bank plc, 8 Canada Square, Canary Wharf London E14 5HQ,” replied Hemalatha Raju from the Internet Banking Customer Support.