GMB, IDBZ rumble

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Grain Marketing Board has sued its banker, the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe, after the financial institution transferred $160 000 meant for investment to a private firm without authority from the board, legislators heard yesterday.

GMB finance and administration manager Mr Joe Muzurura said they suspected that there was connivance between IDBZ and Muga Foods, which received $160 000 that GMB had deposited as investment.

Mr Muzurura said this before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Mufakose MP Ms Paurina Mpariwa (MDC-T) that had invited GMB to respond to issues raised by Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri in her 2013 and 2014 report.

Legislators expressed concern on whether GMB chairperson Mr Charles Chikaura, who is also IDBZ chief executive officer, was not in conflict of interest.

Mr Muzurura said Mr Chikaura had since recused himself in handling the issue, but said GMB was worried on the manner IDBZ handled their investment money.

“We are also puzzled. We think there was connivance between Muga Foods and staff at IDBZ.

“Usually, when our bank makes a payment on our behalf, they seek confirmation from us and this was not done in this case. We suspect connivance and even fraud by staff at IDBZ, we went to court because we want our money back,” said Mr Muzurura.

Muga Foods was one of GMB’s customers.

Mabvuku-Tafara MP Mr James Maridadi (MDC-T) said the recusal of Mr Chikaura was of no consequence since he was the ultimate authority at the bank on any transaction.

Harare East MP Cde Terence Mukupe (Zanu-PF) said it was standard banking procedure that in such scenario Mr Chikaura should recuse himself hence there was nothing wrong in what he did.

“My worry is that what happened was criminal. If someone takes my investment money without my authority that is purely criminal, what have you done with that?” said Cde Mukupe.

Mr Muzurura said they had treated the case as civil and would consider to pursue the criminal route as well.

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