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'Zanu-PF MPs blocking from opening nostro accounts'

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2021 at 08:55hrs | Views
BUHERA South MP, Joseph Chinotimba says he and some other Zanu-PF officials were struggling to find a bank that could allow them to open nostro accounts due to sanctions imposed on them by the United States government.

During Wednesday's question and answer session in parliament, Chinotimba expressed concern over failure to travel to some certain countries abroad to buy some goods such as farming equipment.

"Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Finance and Economic Development minister. What plans does government have pertaining to people on sanctions. How should they open nostro accounts because that account has to be vetted in America?

"If they put money in those accounts, it is withheld yet they also want to go and purchase tractors or cars to be used in their farms.

"So what is government doing so that such people, including myself, can be afforded the opportunity to get cash in US dollars since we are not allowed to open nostro accounts?" said Chinotimba.

Responding to the Zanu-PF lawmaker, Deputy Minister of Finance, Clemence Chiduwa took time to explain how the measures were operating.

"Sanctions have got categories but I will focus on Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery (ZIDERA) and Executive Orders. If anyone on these sanctions sends money, a sum is deducted when the money is sent to Swift Bank.

"On nostro accounts that are opened in any other country which is not Europe, America or Britain, no amount is deducted.

"The challenge is only when money is sent to Europe, America and Britain. If money is sent to this region, there is no money that is charged on transferring," Chiduwa said.

Chinotimba said banks operating within the country were denying him the opportunity to open an account.

"When you want to open a nostro account here in Zimbabwe, they are saying ‘you are on sanctions' and they will not process it. Personally, I have been denied an opportunity to open a nostro account. May you assist on that one?"

His question was then answered by Health deputy minister John Mangwiro.

"Here in Zimbabwe, there is no policy that prohibits banks to open nostro accounts for Zimbabweans on sanctions or not.

"If there is such a thing happening, we will engage the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on the matter," Mangwiro said.

Zanu-PF Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena sought answers on exposed politicians.

"The minister said that anyone is allowed to open a nostro account but there is the issue of people who are politically exposed. They say that the bank of Europe does not realise an MP who is aligned to Zanu-PF.

"They will not do any transaction with you. How does government assist people who are politically exposed in order for them to do transactions outside the country? said Wadyajena.

Chiduwa told the MPs that issues raised by Wadyajena were now special cases, adding that local banks were not in a position to prohibit politicians to open nostro accounts.

"We only do not have control on swift transactions that are done in America or Britain. There are forms for politically exposed people at our local banks. It could be case by case, and anyone who is affected is free to come to our offices and we can assist," said the deputy minister.

Speaker Jacob Mudenda advised MPs with the same challenges to seek assistance with the Finance Ministry.

Gutu South MP and Zanu-PF chief whip, Pupurai Togarepi told the speaker that information was lacking regarding the matter.

"There is an information gap which the minister can investigate because what Honourable Chinotimba raised is what is happening. In reality, you cannot open a nostro account if you are a politically exposed person," Togarepi said.

The speaker ordered Chiduwa to engage the Bankers' Association and RBZ and investigate the matter accordingly before a ministerial statement is issued.

According to the US government, ZIDERA only affects targeted individuals. A handful Zanu-PF top officials and their spouses are on its blacklist.

Source - newzimbabwe