Govt to establish commercial court

HARARE - Zimbabwe plans to establish a commercial court to deal with rising corporate and white-collar crimes in the country.

Acting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Charity Dhliwayo, on Wednesday said commercial and banking related cases are taking long to be settled through the existing court system.

“In order to expedite the settling of these disputes there is need to establish a commercial court dedicated to adjudicating commercial and banking related cases,” she said.

Dhliwayo said the central bank “will with immediate effect engage the relevant authorities and stakeholders to address this issue.”

This comes as there has been a broad consensus among Zimbabwe’s business community that there is need for such a court, specifically handling commercial cases in an efficient and business-like manner.

There is a perception that commercial litigation in the country is frustratingly slow while the costs are far too burdensome.

Economic experts contend that establishment of the commercial court will go a long way in delivering justice to the general public that usually loses a lot when a financial institution goes bankruptcy.

Over the past few years, several bankers who abused depositors’ funds have neither been charged nor prosecuted for their crimes.

Recently, there have been reports of alleged corruption and abuse of office at Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas), and parastatals such as Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings.

This week legislators demanded that former Psmas chief executive, Cuthbert Dube, be prosecuted for mismanagement of clients’ funds.

Ruth Labode, non-constituency MP and chairperson of the Health and Child Welfare parliamentary portfolio committee, recommended that “he must be prosecuted for theft or misappropriation of member’s funds.

Dube was reportedly earning a basic monthly salary of $230 000, with other eight senior directors earning $60 000 each per month, at a time the organisation owed service providers $38 million in unpaid bills.

The embattled medical aid society mainly caters for civil servants and uniformed forces that make monthly subscriptions.

Information minister, Jonathan Moyo, has said government is committed to dealing with the rot in the public sector.

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