Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Emmerson Junior, former First Lady Grace Mugabe and senior Zanu PF and government officials and an opposition legislator have been accused of abusing their positions to acquire loans without collateral from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ).
The bank is owed at least US$160 million accrued between 2010 and 2014. The government of Zimbabwe has a 16,01% stake in CBZ and the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank owns 14.06%. The majority of the officials struggling to repay the loans allegedly also benefitted from another US$200 million loan facility from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The central bank was forced to assume the debt after the officials defaulted. The CBZ management has enlisted the services of one of the country’s top lawyers and former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, vice president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa.
Biti confirmed to VOA Zimbabwe Service that he will be representing the bank in recovering the debts. Efforts to get a comment from Emmerson Junior and Mrs. Mugabe were futile, as they were not responding to phone calls. But the majority of the accused officials admitted to VOA Zimbabwe Service that they borrowed money from CBZ though some disputed the amounts leaked to the press.
Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba sent VOA a letter from CBZ indicating that he had cleared his US$100 000 debt.
Former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West Zanu PF chairperson and independent legislator, Temba Mliswa, accused of defaulting on a U$S350,000 loan told VOA Zimbabwe Service’s Blessing Zulu that he actually borrowed millions of dollars from the bank.