Zimbabwe: Our Hands Are Clean - Ecobank

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
20 November 2019

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Financial Intelligence Unit is investigating the Ecobank Zimbabwe customer pictured with the $15 000 in new notes that he had withdrawn from the bank, to establish if the money was sold on the parallel market or paid to dairy farmers as he promised the bank he would do.

The picture of the bundles of cash allocated to the customer circulated widely on social media, drawing sharp criticism of ordinary depositors struggling to access $100 per day.

In a statement yesterday, Ecobank said the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) conducted investigations into alleged diversion of cash to the parallel market but had cleared Ecobank.

"The investigations by the FIU have shown that Ecobank complied with the regulatory processes in disbursing the $15 000 cash in question. This amount was intended for purposes of procuring milk from small-scale producers by a client of the bank.

"Investigations are now centred on the client to ascertain if the funds were used for the indicated and intended purposes, and the existence of any criminal activity on the part of our client," said the bank.

Ecobank said it was committed to consistently adhering to the highest standards of regulatory compliance and governance and "will always co-operate fully with the regulatory authorities".

"We will continue to play our part in providing solutions that contribute to the stability of the economy," said Ecobank.

Ecobank and CBZ Bank were fingered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for allowing their customers to withdraw large sums of money.

The CBZ customer got $44 180.

CBZ said its investigations established that the transaction was "authorised" as betting shop paying out a big winner, in coins.

While the two banks have absolved themselves, the RBZ has not yet issued further statements clearing them.

The ZRP last week said it was conducting joint investigations with the RBZ and once "we feel that we have anything that we want to advise the public, we will communicate approp- riately".

Last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube praised the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for its swift action after the two banks were alleged to have allowed two of their customers to withdraw large sums of cash.

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