RBZ cracks whip on banks: Tellers under fire

Dr John Mangudya

Dr John Mangudya

Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has unearthed malpractices in the banking sector that could be fuelling cash shortages in the country.

RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya yesterday said a recent bank inspection has shown that some banks were not conforming to financial regulations.

Officials at a number of banks in the country said some of their colleagues were in hot soup for allegedly taking bribes to exceed withdrawal limits, with some individuals getting as much as $5 000 per day. A majority of banks peg daily withdrawals at $20 daily.

Bank tellers told The Chronicle some of their colleagues were under fire following the RBZ probes across different banks in the city.

A teller who preferred to be anonymous for professional and legal reasons said his bank had failed during the inspection, with the branch manager expected to go for a hearing soon.

“RBZ personnel were here for two days and some of us were interviewed in isolation on issues to do with some people making clients pay money to access cash. Afterwards, we just heard that our branch did not make the cut,” said the teller.

In a telephone interview Dr Mangudya said the central bank was moving towards taking decisive action on banks that were failing to comply with its new rules.

“We put up policies to promote better circulation of money in the country so that the economy can be functional. However, some financial institutions are causing a setback as they are not complying with these set regulations,” he said.

Dr Mangudya could not say how many banks were complying as he said he was yet to see the final report of the investigative exercise.

“I have not seen the report myself as our team is still out there carrying out these exercises therefore at this point I cannot point fingers and say who is doing what and who is not. This is a normal exercise that we carry out on a regular basis to ensure that there is transparency and normalcy in the banking sector. We do inspection exercises on commercial banks and building societies across the country so that all irregularities are fished out and sorted out,” said Dr Mangudya.

“People should understand that there is no cash crisis in the country. The real problem that we have is poor circulation of cash. People have a tendency of wanting to hoard physical money and not bank it, which leads to the long queues in banks, because most of the money in the economy is not circulating.

Whatever money that people get their hands on, they want to keep. There is more money being withdrawn than being deposited. That is where the problem is. People should have a banking culture if our cash situation is to normalise,” he said.

“Non-compliant banks should be warned. They will be charged under the Abuse of Public Office Act and would be liable to long prison terms if convicted.”
Dr Mangudya called for honesty and integrity among people working in the banking sector as he said it was possible to cheat the system.

“It is possible to manipulate the system.  However this is a human issue and we entrust the sector in the hands of capable, reliable and trustworthy people.

I urge branch managers to monitor tellers and their activities and bank management to be honest and credible themselves,” said Dr Mangudya.

He, however, highlighted that there were too many employees in the banking industry and as such, it was difficult to trace all illicit dealings.

“There are too many tellers as each bank will have a number of branches across the country, so really for our teams to really follow up on each and every teller would be tedious, we are just entrusting the job in people whom we hope were hired on integrity and met recruitment requirements,” said Dr Mangudya.

Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe executive officer Mr Sijabuliso Biyam said the institution was behind RBZ in moving to ensure that all banks were compliant.

“We are behind the RBZ. We want a situation whereby all 16 registered banks are fully compliant with the RBZ regulations so that we may see an end to this madness and see sanity being brought back to banking halls,” said Mr Biyam.

He could, however, not disclose which banks were found wanting and what action was to be taken.

“We know that there are certain malpractices in some banks, however, we have not yet received feedback from RBZ after commencement of the inspection exercise,” said the BAZ official.

This week, some Chinese nationals and 19 illegal money changers were arrested in Harare, shortly after the gazetting of regulations criminalising cash vending with police recovering $55 000 worth of bond notes, US$1 662 and R6 000.

The suspects were also found in possession of 10 000 Tanzanian shillings and 320 Botswana pula.

Under the new regulations gazetted last week through Statutory Instrument (SI) 122A of 2017 — Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (No 5), police are now empowered to arrest illegal money changers and seize currency in their possession.

The  Government has been able to establish that cash vending has become a catalytic agent to both arbitrary price hikes and rent-seeking behaviour.

 

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  • Skelem

    Ndoo pakati campaigns for 2018 where you not seeing this the whole time?

  • Gen Gowon

    He has been in the system for quite sometime but learnt nothing at all.Even the turbulent pre multi currency basket along side the adoption of the US$ period never provided any lesson whatsoever,just as good as his political superiors.Country run on basis of witch hunting and rumour mongering.Getting nowhere with this stupid regime.

  • maqubela sipho

    Limiting withdrawal to US20 a day is not recommended by a person with 5 senses. Can this be followed by any sensible person? You pay us20 to travel from rural areas to town, you sleep at the bus rank, buy a banana as supper for the night and you pay another US10 back home. Does this make sense and bank tellers who listen to customers are arrested. Why punish poor people when the president and wife are on a spending and house buying spree in other countries wasting the country`s money? Why are criminal who steal money not arrested? Why would a normal person vote for ZANUPF in the coming elections to be slaves? Never keep your money in Mugabe`s banks, his wife will take it all.

  • teller

    RBZ should address the real problem at hand and advise govt to minimise this money burning by govt which led us to this situation rather than spend time threatening bank employees. We saw it happening during the Gono era and it took us nowhere

  • Distant Observer

    RBZ should should also ban Burial societies’ which are conducted at beerhalls across the country as these do not bank those funds collected from their members. Most of these also do not accept bonds notes insisting that they are are of less value than USD thus members are forced to buy USD currency from black market. They should be forced to take up policies from Nyaradzo, Doves, etc which are cheaper than running these burial societies

    • Yosina

      Force me to do what ? Try it we hold our meetings at Big Bhawa in Makokoba every Sunday morning.

      Come and say the same and you will know not to disrespect people’s monies.

  • QB

    Bayahlanya laba $20 ngelanga ngubani ongaphila nge $20

  • silly guys

    if we bank proper US$ cash and we want to withdraw it later we get useless bond notes