BY MOSES MATENGA
Zanu PF legislators say they are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct business because banks are rejecting their applications for foreign currency-dominated accounts citing sanctions by western countries.
The MPs raised their concerns during a question-and-answer segment in Parliament last week where they pleaded for government assistance in the matter.
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF) said politically exposed people were finding it difficult to do transactions in foreign currency through the banking system.
“If they put money in those accounts, it is withheld yet they also want to go and purchase tractors or cars to be used on their farms,” Chonotimba complained.
“When you want to open a nostro account here in Zimbabwe, they are saying you are on the sanctions list and they will not process it.
“Personally, I have been denied an opportunity to open a nostro account. May you assist on that one?”
Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu PF) said “politically exposed persons” were being blocked from transacting and appealed for government intervention.
“Finance deputy minister [Clemence Chiduwa] 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 recognise a Member of Parliament 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?”
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi also pleaded with the government to help the ruling party members, who were struggling to open nostro accounts.
“I think there is an information gap, which I think the minister can go and investigate because what Honourable Chinotimba raised is what is happening,” Togarepi said.
“In reality, you cannot open a nostro account if you are a politically exposed person.
“In theory, they have forms that facilitate opening of those accounts, but he should help us by investigating, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe whether that can be resolved
Chiduwa said local banks were not in a position to prohibit people from opening nostro accounts and those, who had applications rejected could be “special cases”.
“I think these are now special cases, but our banks are not in a position to prohibit politicians from opening nostro accounts,” he said.
“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.”
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda said all those affected should engage the government.
“All those with that particular problem should go to the ministry of Finance to get assistance,” Mudenda said.
“Deputy minister, can you engage the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe and the RBZ, and investigate the matter accordingly and come back to the House and give us a ministerial statement so that the issues are clarified?”
A top banker who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “This thing is not dictated by banks here.
“It is dictated by banks outside the country.
“You normally have correspondent banks and these are the ones you do your transaction with outside the country.
“At the end of the day, they are very wary of banks that deal with politically exposed persons.”
Several, Zanu PF officials, including ministers were placed under sanctions by the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom over cases of alleged human rights abuses.
Zanu PF has maintained that the sanctions are affecting the ordinary people and must go.