Zim truck driver faces charges over bond coin leak

2017-09-24 09:00
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Harare - A Zimbabwe truck driver who shared pictures of a bond coin invoice may be charged under the Official Secrets Act.

State media says police are investigating 32-year-old Tinashe Sikwila for sharing pictures of an invoice for freshly-minted bond coins he was tasked with transporting from South Africa last week.

According to a signed confession quoted by the state-run Herald, Sikwila has admitted to taking a picture of the invoice from the South African Mint Company, which showed that 126 drums of the coins, valued at three million US dollars, had been purchased.

The driver allegedly shared the information with friends, colleagues and family on social media.

Official Secrets

“The RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) has since reported the matter to the Zimbabwe Republic Police where Sikwila is expected to be charged with violating the Official Secrets Act,” said the Herald.

“It is also understood that while communicating with his friends, Sikwila disclosed the registration numbers of cars escorting the truck and the type of rifles being used by the police, putting security of the consignment at risk,” the paper added.

The paper says that when the consignment arrived at the central bank in Harare, phones were confiscated from each member of the escort “and Sikwila was unmasked as the culprit.”

Deepening crisis

Late last year the state-owned POSB was fined half a million US dollars after some workers leaked pictures of new bond notes on social media before the notes were officially released on November 28.

Bond coins and bond notes circulate as a surrogate currency inside Zimbabwe. Officially they have the same value as the US dollar, though they can’t be used outside the country.

The authorities in Zimbabwe have announced plans to release up to 300 million dollars’ worth of extra bond notes, in addition to the 200 million already in circulation. The move has raised concern the extra cash will fuel the black market in scarce foreign currency.

Zimbabwe’s economic crisis is deepening, with rising prices and reports of fuel shortages, echoing a similar economic crisis that peaked in 2007-2008. On Saturday a News24 reporter was given cash back in a supermarket in Harare – but the maximum amount on offer was just 2 US. In bond notes.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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