ZANU-PF rejoices as Gono goes for the small fry


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Zimbabweans and older ZANU-PF were rejoicing at the detention of Phillip Chiyangwa and James Makamba but the big fish seemed to be getting away with it.

A cable released by Wikileaks said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s much ballyhooed anti-corruption campaign had shut down one large bank and a smattering of marginal institutions while pursuing several hundred individuals.

But though the RBZ had dredged up genuine instances of impropriety and embezzlement, it had mostly acted against holders and facilitators of undeclared foreign accounts and not yet against political leaders.

RBZ investigators had so far raised charges against four significant players: businessmen Philip Chiyangwa and James Makamba as well as Intermarket’s Nicolas Vingirai and Barbican Bank’s Mtuli Ncube.

“Chiyangwa and Makamba were successor generation ZANU-PF upstarts aiming to leverage their political influence into commercial endeavours. Many Zimbabweans – including older ZANU-PF politicos – seemed to rejoice at their imprisonment,” the cable says.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE460, The GOZ’s Anti-Corruption Show

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE460

2004-03-17 10:22

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

171022Z Mar 04

UNCLAS HARARE 000460

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

STATE FOR AF/S AND AF/EX

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

 

E. O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON EINV ETRD PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: The GOZ’s Anti-Corruption Show

 

 

1.(U) Summary: The Reserve Bank’s (RBZ) much ballyhooed

anti-corruption campaign has now shut down one large bank

and a smattering of marginal institutions while pursuing

several hundred individuals. Although the RBZ has

dredged up genuine instances of impropriety and

embezzlement, it has mostly acted against holders and

facilitators of undeclared foreign accounts and not yet

against political leaders. This is part of the RBZ’s

latest and misguided attempt to destroy the parallel

currency market. End summary.

 

Uneasiness Over Vingirai and Ncube Charges

——————————————

2. (SBU) So far, RBZ investigators have raised charges

against four significant players: businessmen Philip

Chiyangwa and James Makamba as well as Intermarket’s

Nicolas Vingirai and Barbican Bank’s Mtuli Ncube.

Chiyangwa and Makamba were successor generation ZANU-PF

upstarts aiming to leverage their political influence

into commercial endeavors. Many Zimbabweans – including

older ZANU-PF politicos – seemed to rejoice at their

imprisonment. Reactions to charges against Vingirai and

Ncube have been more conflicted. (Intermarket is a large

bank, while Barbican was only launched as a commercial

bank last year.) Both Vingirai and Ncube were founders

and CEOs of their banks, prominent businessmen who served

as role models and financiers for emerging black

entrepreneurs. Those who liked and respected the two

have been pained to see them flee the country.

 

3. (U) In addition, the RBZ has pursued a host of tiny

financial institutions – such as Trust, NMB and ENG – as

well as several hundred individuals. In some cases, the

RBZ seems to have unearthed evidence of malfeasance,

perhaps best epitomized by Chiyangwa’s large collection

of fancy cars. In most cases, however, the RBZ is

charging individuals and financial bodies with

externalization of assets.   Ultimately, this is

selective and opportunistic enforcement, since almost

every large business and businessman has dealt in the

parallel market and maintained undeclared foreign

accounts. For example, RBZ Governor Gideon Gono’s own

bank, CBZ, had been a prominent parallel market trader.

 

Comment

——-

4. (SBU) The net effect of the RBZ’s energetic anti-

corruption campaign has been negative on two accounts.

First, this economy needs a parallel currency market, at

least until there is sufficient export revenue to fuel

the twice-weekly auctions. By killing the parallel

market while enforcing an overvalued zimdollar at

gunpoint, the RBZ is further damaging the economy by

limiting sharply access to essential foreign exchange.

Second, the RBZ has been too selective in its targeting.

Despite ample evidence of similar “offenses,” authorities

have yet to snare a truly “big fish” such as a cabinet

official or Parliament speaker Emmerson Mnangwagwa.

 

5. (SBU) It is ironic that Barbican’s Ncube was a serious

runner-up to Gono as the new RBZ chief. In a parallel

universe, we have no doubt that RBZ Governor Ncube is

contemplating whether to take a call from fugitive Gono

in London.

 

Sullivan

(25 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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