Director testifies against RBZ ‘moles’

26 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Director testifies against RBZ ‘moles’

The Herald

Nyore Madzianike-Senior Court Reporter

Two principal economists with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe accused of leaking a confidential document on the de-dollarisation programme on social media violated the bank’s secrecy policies, a senior bank officer for economic research and policy implementation, Dr Nebson Mupunga told the court.

Dr Mupunga said Smart Manda and Philton Makena were not supposed to share the document as it is against the bank policy to share confidential information with the public unless authorised.

Although he said he does not remember whether he took an oath on the Official Secrecy Act or not, Dr Mupunga said he remembers signing a document relating to bank secrets when he joined the RBZ in 2004.

He also chronicled how they got to know that Manda and Makena were responsible for leaking the document through an internal inquiry ordered by the governor.

Dr Mupunga appeared in court as a State witness.

“We have a common folder where we share documents and people have access to it.

“It was a word document in electronic form and it contained measures on the monetary, fiscal structural side for the de-dollarisation programme.

“The document was titled Macro Economic Framework Underpinning Five-Year Dedollarisation Plan,” he said.

Dr Mupunga said he came across the document on a WhatsApp group called Zimbabwe Economists Society and informed the RBZ governor.

His boss asked him for the names of people who had access to the document.

“From then, it was now the duty of IT people to trace the movement of the document,” he said.

Dr Mupunga told the court that a meeting was called and all the attendees denied leaking the document.

He said Manda and Makena did not attend the meeting as they were working from home during the national Covid-19 lockdown.

“Whatever we do in the bank is confidential. Everything we do as part of day-to-day activities is confidential and should not be shared with outsiders. 

Dr Mupunga said they established that the two principal economists were responsible for leaking the document.

In March last year, RBZ Governor John Mangudya assigned John Mafararikwa, who is the director of Economic Policy and Research, to work on a document titled De-dollarisation Road Map.

The document was aimed at assisting the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in the de-dollarisation of the economy over five years, according to the State.

Mr Mafararikwa assigned Dr Mupunga to head a team comprising chief economists Mr Samuel Tarinda, Ms Getrude Machingura, Dr Nicholas Masindima, Mr Admore Jaya, Mr Douglas Mugwambi, Mr Paul Gilmor Mukoki, Mr Tawanda Lubvuma and Mr Tongai Tarubona in discussing and crafting the document. Manda was also part of the                                                                             team.

On April 15, 2020, Manda allegedly received the document from Dr Mupunga on his cellphone through an RBZ e-mail account into his Gmail account. Manda allegedly converted the document into a pdf file before sending it to Makena via WhatsApp.

Makena is alleged to have forwarded the document to his cousin, Bongani Zimuto, who forwarded it to Professor Wonder Zimuto, a business development executive at ZIMNAT Life Assurance Company.

The document later found its way to a number of social media platforms.

Investigations and forensic examination revealed that the document allegedly moved from Manda’s phone to Makena’s until it reached Prof Zimuto’s phone. 

The court heard that Manda and Makena were aware that it was the duty of the RBZ Governor to publish any document of the Reserve Bank to the public.

RBZ director human resources and support services, Mr Elliot Rwatirera, is representing the central bank in the matter which continues on December 10.

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