Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's 'citizen bankers' lose jobs over leaked bond note pics

2016-11-29 10:51
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has the unenviable job on Thursday afternoon of presenting Zimbabwe's national budget - just as the southern African country looks dangerously near to economic collapse again.

Harare - Those "citizen bankers" who leaked photos of stacks of Zimbabwe's brand-new bond notes in a bank vault? They've lost their jobs. 

And Zimbabwe's tough-talking central bank governor John Mangudya has fined their previous employer - POSB, the People's Own Savings Bank - a whopping $500 000, according to a statement.

It's not clear how many "citizen bankers" have lost their jobs in the wake of the leaks, which first surfaced on social media on Sunday. Bond notes were released on Monday: the first batch of them is worth 10 million if the notes maintain 1:1 parity with the US.

Mangudya said in his statement that POSB's conduct in permitting the leaks was "wrongful and deplorable" - though it was widely applauded on social media.

Read his statement: "POSB unlawfully and without permission took images of bond notes in its vaults and distributed and publicised the images via social media."

'New era of export-led growth'

"The employees who took, publicised and distributed the images on social media have been dismissed with immediate effect," Mangudya added.

Opponents of longtime president Robert Mugabe are against the introduction of the bond notes.

They fear they will go the same way as "bearer cheques", an earlier surrogate currency first introduced in Zimbabwe in 2003. They were finally abandoned in 2009 when hyperinflation rendered them worthless. 

Mangudya and the rest of Mugabe's severely cash-strapped government are ignoring the resistance. State ZBC television reported late on Monday that because of bond notes, Zimbabwe was now entering "a new era of export-led growth".

Referring to the bond note photo leaks, the bank governor said POSB had "breached the confidentiality it was enjoined to maintain in respect of information and material provided to it by the Reserve Bank". 

Former finance minister @BitiTendai commented: "Whatever happened to due process and the rule of law. Bond notes are illegal so any dealing with [them] can't create illegality."

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  john mangudya  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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