THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Finance and Economic Development will summon central bank officials responsible for handling foreign currency amid allegations of misappropriation of the foreign exchange.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The allegations, which surfaced when Finance permanent secretary Willard Manungo and central bank governor John Mangudya appeared before the committee on Monday, came at a time when the economy has been experiencing foreign currency shortage. The monetary authorities attribute the cash shortage to a mismatch between exports and imports.
Harare East legislator Terrence Mukupe asked Mangudya whether he would allow the committee to summon some of his officials for a public hearing to question them based on information they had.
However, committee chairperson David Chapfika said they did not need Mangudya’s permission as the RBZ fell under the committee’s purview.
“So then we will call these senior officials at the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] to come for a public hearing and ask them whether they are doing that [misappropriating cash] and if they are, we will look into that,” Mukupe said.
Prior to that statement, Mukupe had expressed doubt on whether Zimbabweans had faith in some of the RBZ officials.
“When we hear of things that some of your officials are doing it is up to us to hold you accountable and look into them,” he said.
The legislator had questioned whether Mangudya was conducting regular lifestyle audits to make sure that his officials were not misappropriating funds.
However, Mangudya neither confirmed nor denied whether any lifestyle audits were done on his subordinates, but reiterated his confidence in his team.
“If any of the officials are doing such acts [abusing their positions] then please bring it to my attention and they will be looked into,” he said.
This comes as the central bank recorded $2,4 billion in foreign currency that has arrived into the country between January and May 31 this year from mainly exports and diaspora remittances.
Of the foreign currency received during that period, RBZ retained about 30% with Mangudya highlighting they could account for that portion of the funds and not the 70% kept by banks.
“On our books there should be enough cash circulating in the economy, but we are finding that is not the case due to market indiscipline,” he said.