Fidelis Munyoro Assistant News Editor
SCOTTCO spinning mill has taken the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to court seeking to recover over R2,6 million taken from its in 2007.
In summons issued at the High Court last month the company is seeking an order compelling the RBZ to return R1 455 667,12 and US$1 513,88 withdrawn from its MBCA Bank account in 2007.
It also wants another R1 168 432,46 and US$37,50 that was taken from its other account at BancABC.
All the money should be returned with interest as prescribed by law.
The firm, which is involved in spinning cotton lint into yarn used in the manufacturing of fabrics and supplies, faces closure for failure to pay creditors, among them Zesa.
The RBZ, its Gorvenor Dr Gideon Gono, MBCA Bank and BancABC are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
The two banks remitted the money to RBZ on October 2 2007 following a Monetary Policy statement directing all corporates to surrender all the foreign currency to the central bank within 24 hours.
The statement was issued on October 1 2007.
“Authorised dealers shall transfer all their corporate FCA (including EPZ companies) and NGOs balances to the Reserve Bank by close of business on October 2 2007, as directed by International Banking and Portfolio Management Division, and submit to Exchange Control individual exporter balances on those transfers made,” Dr Gono said.
However, Scottco argued that it entered into agreements with MBCA and BancABC to keep the balances in the respective accounts on condition that they were payable on demand.
Although the two financial institutions acknowledged their indebtedness to Scottco they have, however, failed to pay back the money.
Dr Gono invoked provisions of the Exchange Control Regulations, Statutory Instrument 109 of 1996 to have foreign currency transferred to the central bank, which the firm argued was done without consent.
Scottco lawyer Mr Succeed Takundwa said the banks had a duty at law to disobey the instruction given by Dr Gono because it was clearly unlawful.
“The Statutory Instrument used to issue instructions to take money from the corporate Zimbabwe citizens did not give RBZ powers to take people’s money without their consent. Dr Gono contravened provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Mr Takundwa.
“Compliance with the directive of RBZ was motivated by fear of what the central bank could do to them if they did not comply.”
Mr Takundwa said banks should have taken a strong position to defend their clients.
“The banks are at fault in failing to protect their clients. They exhibited extreme cowardice by obeying something clearly prohibited by the supreme law of the country,” he said.
This, Mr Takundwa said, deprived his client of its property in breach of the Constitution.
“In terms of provisions of Section 16 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, all Zimbabwean citizens are protected from deprivation of their property,” said Mr Takundwa.
RBZ lawyer Mr Tawanda Chitapi has since filed a notice of appearance to defend the claim.
“Be pleased to take notice that on the 9th day of January 2012 . . . first and second defendants entered appearance to defend this matter.
“The summons were served on defendants on 3 January 2012,” said Mr Chitapi.
Atherstone and Cook law firm, which is acting for MBCA has also filed notice to defend the claim.