Publicise Interfin's $100m abuse report, RBZ urged

HARARE - Interfin Bank Limited (Interfin)’s ex-employees are pushing for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to publicise a forensic report outlining the abuse of $100 million.

This comes as the apex bank last month refused to extend Interfin’s curatorship after potential investors baulked to inject fresh capital, paving way for its liquidation.

In a signed petition by the former Interfin workers, they said it was unimaginable for $100 million in depositors’ funds to just vanish into thin air.

“We believe that Zimbabwe cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this especially as it does appear that this money went into the pockets of some directors and shareholders,” read part of the petition.

It was therefore in the public interest for the central bank to publish the forensic report which was compiled by KPMG in 2012.

“This report cost a significant amount of depositors’ funds and as such cannot be ignored,” the ex-employees said.

In the meantime, the troubled financial institution’s clients will only be paid their deposits after the High Court has granted the RBZ an order to liquidate the financial institution.

RBZ had given Interfin up to December 24, 2014 to finalise discussions with a potential investor it hoped would inject $50 million into the bank.

Interfin collapsed in 2009 when Zimbabwe adopted use of a basket of foreign currencies, dominated by the US dollar.

The bank had been under curatorship for the past two-and-half years.

Tim Chiganze, Interfin chairman, told an extraordinary general meeting in September last year, that the central bank had written to curator Peter Bailey recommending that the bank surrender its operating licence after struggling to court new investors.

Despite Interfin management’s claims that they had identified two potential investors, the deals had not yet materialised.

“A total of 12 potential investors were considered,” said the central bank in a statement.

“However, none of the proposals put forward yielded any positive results and the institution’s condition continued to deteriorate in the absence of concrete recapitalisation plans.”

RBZ said any further extension of curatorship would further prejudice depositors and creditors.

The bank was reported to have collected 1,57 percent of the $107,2 million owed by debtors since it was put under recuperative curatorship

As at November, Interfin had a negative net position of $166 million.

So far, Interfin Bank, Trust Bank, Genesis Investment Bank, Royal Bank, Capital Bank and recently Allied Bank — have collapsed, mainly due to poor corporate governance, shaky risk management systems, and inadequate capitalisation.

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