RBZ suspends top official over policy document leak

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it has suspended a senior official, whom it accuses of leaking a policy document on the central bank’s five year roadmap to de-dollarisation.

Staff Reporter

In a statement on Thursday, the RBZ said it had suspended its senior economist, Philton Makena and had began disciplinary proceedings against him.

RBZ governor, John Mangundya said Philton Makena leaked the document before it had been discussed at both central bank and government levels.

“Mr Makena’s conduct amounted to breach of the oath of secrecy by which all bank employees are bound,” he said.
“Accordingly, the bank has suspended him, with immediate effect.”

Mangudya said the document should be disregarded.

In explaining what happened leading to the leak, the central bank governor said the draft document was being worked on by a team of economists on a computer allocated to RBZ chief economist, Paul Gilmour Mukoki who was initially suspected for leaking the document
The RBZ said it had since established that Mukoki was not responsible for the leakage.

The document outlined plans to reduce inflation, which is at 676%, to two digit numbers by year end, among other things.

The RBZ banned the use of foreign currency in June 2019, but reintroduced the use of the US dollar recently for local transactions stating that it was necessary in the wake of COVID-19.

The economy continues on a freefall despite the introduction of a local unit, which authorities hoped would help the economy rebound.

The International Monetary Fund projects that Zimbabwe’s economy will shrink by up to 7.5% pushed down by a combination of a drought and the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, the economy was projected to have shrunk by up to 6.5%.