Govt buys forex on black market

THE country’s foreign currency squeeze has reportedly forced some government departments and parastatals to source the elusive United States dollars from the parallel market to fund their various activities in contravention of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) foreign currency exchange regulations, NewsDay has learnt.

BY CHARLES LAITON

This was revealed yesterday when Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) chief executive officer, Nancy Masiiwa testified at the High Court in a matter where the parastatal’s five executives are being charged with sourcing over $2,8 million from the black market to pay off part of the parastatal’s debt to Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

Although she admitted that the move was illegal, Masiiwa revealed that Infralink (Pvt) Ltd sourced $2 940 588 through Caudless (Pvt) Ltd and Grayriver (Pvt) Ltd.

Infralink is a Zinara special purpose vehicle, jointly owned by Zinara and Group Five (Pvt) Ltd, with a shareholding of 75% and 25%, respectively.

Masiiwa claimed the money was meant to pay off a $206 million loan sourced from DBSA, sourced through Infralink.

The loan had been sourced by Zinara for the construction and rehabilitation of the 823km-long Plumtree-Mutare Highway.

The illegitimate move by the parastatal came at a time when law enforcement agents have been engaged in running battles with money changers after Parliament, through the RBZ, outlawed the activity and called for stiffer penalties against convicted offenders.

Through their lawyer, Rekai Maposa, all the suspects — Simon Mudzingwa Taranhike, Shadreck Matengabadza, Stephen Matute, Givemore Tatenda Kufa and Precious Murove — pleaded not guilty to the charge when they appeared before High Court judge Justice Amie Tsanga.

In their defence, the suspects claimed the charge against them was politically motivated after they were linked to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste Zanu PF faction.

They claimed the charges were concocted after they allegedly refused to carry out instructions from Masiiwa to embezzle public funds.
But in her evidence, Masiiwa said after Zinara realised that the non-serviced loan had ballooned to an unsustainable level of over $14,5 million, she instructed Zinara’s finance director, Taranhike, to be innovative and find suitable financiers to help in raising the money to pay off the debt.


“There was never a time that I (Masiiwa), as the chief executive officer of Zinara, or any member of the executive instructed the finance director or his deputy to source hard currency from the informal market for to do so was in violation of the standing rules.

“In the event that the finance director faced challenges implementing these tasks, he was supposed to apprise my office or the board of the challenges for further management,” she said.

“I got to know about a company called Grayriver (Pvt) Ltd through key payments for the weekly returns, which were submitted by the finance director on June 20, 2017.

“I was surprised when the finance director informed me that the finance department had raised $2,8 million from the informal market . . . in this case, the finance director or his deputy did not consult with the board or the executive before they went into the informal market to source foreign currency.”

Justice Tsanga asked Masiiwa if, for a period of about six weeks, she was not in the picture that the money had been sourced from the parallel market and paid towards the loan.

“I was not aware that something had been paid,” she responded.

“The information was hidden from the executive.

“Zinara would not have sourced cash from the parallel market for doing so would be illegal.”

On Monday, prosecutor Chris Mutangadura called the first State witness, Presidential Affairs permanent secretary Judith Katerera, who told the court she was a former permanent secretary in the Transport ministry.

Katerera said all she knew was that Zinara obtained a loan from DBSA, which had accumulated $21 million in interest and needed to be settled as a matter of urgency.

At least nine witnesses have been lined up to give evidence and they are Christopher Hokonya, former Zinara board chairman Albert Mugabe, Shadreck Chezani, Honest Kugotsi, Patrick Takawira, Tonderai Marange and Bruce Michael Black.

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13 Comments

  1. Kuwiriranakwakanakakugarakunzwanana Garanewakohamandishe

    Comment…Asi zvakaoma kukunda njanji. Musi wa18 Ndira mutapi wenhau dzemabhizinisi akati US$ richange rati tiyi gore rino. Aireva mumigwagwa nhai? ndaifunga kuti mumabhanga kaini. Mabhanga
    arikuwanda mumigwagwa? Ambori anaaniko mabhanga aya, ati nyerere mumigwagwa yose yemaguta? Ndinoona mabhegi akati maku neUS, Rand, Pula, Pound, kuzoti Bond. Bazi rezvemari nebhanga guru renyika, mazuva ZANA!

    1. It really boggles the mind that with even such clear regulations which outlaw buying and selling money on the black market the Government is turning a blind eye on this practice. When shall you act against such illegal practices? Are those in high offices the ones financing these illegal money changers hence their silence? Parliamentarians where are you here? Currencies have become the most traded commodity at almost every corner and every street. Have you, the Parliamentarians, been sucked into this corruption? Surely real change is yet to come.

  2. Musorobhangu(G40)

    Tomboti the seller arikuti $2.8M cost you 40% more AND THE BUYER SAYS ISA 5% more wozondibata tym tym..who will be losing.? Its ZINARA-Gorvenment.

  3. Action must be taken to money changers and banks at large. Money changers get the money from banks and other big fishes with the aim of self enrichment.

  4. To get to the root and source of the problem, kuti tibate varoyi vanosupplier mari idzi. Let the govt set maximum hard cash per person per time and any amount above the limit to be transacted through the banking system and send police groups to search and go through the entire town full time confisticating all hard cash above limit and arrest any person with cash above the limit. The chickens will come home to roost,the truth will come out, otherwise we are just chasing the wind.

  5. ….and in this same issue, the rbz governor is telling local businesses to “up their game”. Shouldn’t he resign? He said if he failed to turn around the fin situation he’d resign. What is he waiting for? He has completely failed.

  6. This a symptom bearer of a dysfunctional government … a hopeless leadership, which is more concerned with leadership positions and nothing else!

    1. GONOISM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Sagitarr I agree with you.Changing money anywhere is the choice of the currency holder.They optimize on currency fluctuations.Reserve bank have a choice , plenty choices on how to respond , like other countries.Governor likes to print valueless money that’s what you get , devaluation of your currency.No muscles can change that.You promised a running industry by last year n now you seem to be singing the 100days also.Give your currency value by promoting local manufacturing which you clearly are not.We ate now starting to see imported beverages from SA.Toothpaste is all imported 100%..I’m beggining to wonder .

  8. Just testifies the unsustainability of govt policies. We never needed bond notes and import restrictions in a broken economy. You can not try to control money that is not yours. You can not make laws to make US$ money that has been privately & legally acquired, become government property.

    You can not affix an inferior money’s value to the US by word of mouth. Prices are determined by how much of wanted goods are available and how badly the people want the goods.

    All Cde Bimha did was create a shortage through import restrictions for goods not meaningfully produced in Zim to help predatory businesses raise prices. Question is, what was in it for him.

    All Mangundya did was find away to draw out US$ from private hands, make it scarce, and make people who badly needed it pay a higher rate for it, raising prices.

    Bimha, Mangundya and their policies are a toxic combination and will not solve the problems they created as long as they sing the dull chorus, “individuals”, “hoarding”, “informal sector” and all sorts of poor struggling souls of insignificant strength trying to make a living.

    Get rid of Mangundya, Bimha with their doctorates. Reverse their regressive policies. They are part of the country’s collapse. They can not be part of its rebuilding.

  9. What do they use to buy this currency?

  10. Corruption, corruption and more corruption. I don’t matter whether you are male or female, G40 or Lacoste, it’s all corruption!.This whole mess stinks to high heaven!! Does this country have anyjails??

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