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Zimbabwe Minister Mpofu to Appear Before RBZ Board Over Bank Purchase

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s investigations department has invited Mines Minister Obert Mpofu to a meeting to discuss his source of funding after he was given the greenlight by the finance ministry to purchase the financially-troubled Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.

RBZ sources say the department has already gathered a lot of information about Mpofu’s assets and source of some of his funds. Under Zimbabwean law anyone who wants to own or run a financial institution must go through a rigorous probe so the state can ascertain the source of his money.

The department is set to give the RBZ board a detailed report on May 29. Sources say it will be used to determine Mpofu’s eligibility to own a bank.

Economists and other observers fear that the report may not be made public since the investigations involve a senior government minister who is on record as having said he is one of the richest people in Zimbabwe.

Mpofu was not immediately reachable for comment. The Banking Act compels people and companies venturing into the financial sector to disclose their source of funding to weed out money linked to blood diamonds and terrorists.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera said many people are eagerly waiting for the report due to Mpofu’s state portfolio and allegations of bribery leveled against him by some mining firms in the Marange diamond field.

The ZABG, set up by the RBZ following the collapse of several banks due to alleged corruption and money laundering, failed to raise the required $12 million minimum capitalization threshold required by the central bank resulting in Mpofu's bid.