Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has invoked his presidential powers to block the attachment and auctioning of assets of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe property by creditors to whom it owes billions of dollars.
Mr. Mugabe's decree amending sections of the Reserve Bank Act will remain in force for six months until parliament passes the necessary legislation to make the terms of his decree permanent.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently indicated the government was drafting a law to protect the central bank from what some call “vultures,” though many creditors just want repayment of funds the RBZ illegally diverted.
Biti was quoted as saying that, “It has become clear that some individuals and companies are acting like vultures after buying the central bank’s assets for a song.” Some top government and military officials are reported to have flocked to most of the auctions where they bought an assortment of goods.
Following the presidential decree, the deputy sheriff reportedly stopped an auction set for Friday in which 20,946 harrows, 1,639 cultivators, 54 planters, 537 Scotch carts and other goods belonging to the central bank were to be sold to settle a US$2.1 million debt to Farmtech Supplies and Implements.
Attorney Davison Kanokanga, representing Farmtech, said his client may appeal Mr. Mugabe's decree.
"If I am given instructions by my clients to take the matter to court, I will certainly do so in order to challenge some provisions of the presidential edict,” Kanokanga said told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube.
A number of firms and non-governmental organizations have taken the bank to court to recover outstanding debts incurred by the RBZ, which often funded government programs and acted as a government agent.