Time Bank will let bygones be bygones provided the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) honours its side of the bargain, but has turned the heat on former governor Gideon Gono for the manner in which he handled the bank’s dispute with the regulator.
In a notice last month, RBZ said Time Bank would resume banking operations, subject to prior inspection by the bank to ensure that it had put in place the necessary capital and banking systems and structures.
The bank was closed in 2004 and had its licence cancelled in 2006. The licence was restored in 2009 by the Administrative Court.
At the centre of Time Bank’s dispute with RBZ was interest charged on the $15 million Memorandum of Deposit raised from the PTA Bank.
The loan was disbursed through RBZ. On repayment, RBZ charged the bank 70% interest instead of 7%. RBZ went on to debit Time Bank’s account with 63% excess interest during Leonard Tsumba’s tenure as RBZ governor.
Tsumba agreed to refund Time Bank its money, but his tenure ended before the money was repaid.
In a notice yesterday, Time Bank heaped praises on RBZ governor John Mangudya for resolving the matter amicably, but at the same took a dig at Gono’s administration.
The bank said it had agreed to accept, conditionally, an incomplete handover/takeover of assets, including records of Time Bank and related matters from the former curator and RBZ to the directors of Time Bank in order to move forward.
“The above events show the benefits of changing governors of RBZ from time to time. It would have been a different story to Time Bank and the cause of natural justice in the banking sector if Gono’s term as RBZ governor had been extended beyond two terms.
The change of leaders at various levels from time to time is in line with the principles of good governance,” Time Bank said. It said there was also need for the rotation of some divisional heads at RBZ “in order to avoid one person staying in a sensitive position or statutory office for more than 10 years”.
Time Bank said it was prepared to let bygones be bygones provided the other side “also embraces genuinely such reconciliation based on the principle of truth and reconciliation”. Gono, whose term of office ended in 2013 could not be drawn into responding to Time Bank, saying it was better to let sleeping dogs lie.
Time Bank was set up in 1997 and was closed by the RBZ on allegations that it was insolvent, a charge denied by directors and shareholders.
Financial sector sources told The Zimbabwean that the RBZ lied about the financial position of Time Bank and that RBZ governor Gideon Gono closed the bank without even verifying its contents.
Time Bank appealed against the cancellation of its licence in the Administrative Court and won. Financial sector sources say Gono wanted to cover up the unjustifiable closure of the bank by refusing to do a normal-handover since July 2006.