RBZ economists have case to answer

TWO Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe principal economists are expected back in court today to explain themselves on charges of failing to abide by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act, after their application for discharge at the close of the State was dismissed and were placed on their defence case.

Harare regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa ruled that Smart Manda and Philton Makena must explain themselves as they failed to prove that they were authorised or following an enactment when they shared the leaked de-dollarisation document.

Manda and Makena allegedly leaked an RBZ de-dollarisation document sometime in 2020.

The two were, however, cleared of charges of violating the Official Secrets Act after the court agreed that they were not Government employees and were not bound by the Act.

“I seem to agree with defence that there is no proof to say they were bound by the Official Secrets Act. The alternative charge of Official Secrets Act has not been proved,” said Mr Mupeiwa.

“We have evidence that accused 1 (Manda) sent to accused 2 (Makena) but there is no evidence to show that he was authorised to send it. There is no evidence that they were following any statute.

“Accused 2 was supposed to know that it was information from RBZ and Section 60 of RBZ Act does not require him to share. After looking at the evidence, I am convinced that the State managed to prove a prima facie case on the main charge. The accused are discharged on the alternative charge but placed on defence on main charge.”

Through lawyer Mr Arshiel Mugiya, Manda told the court that there was no need to be put to his defence case as he never signed any Official Secrets Act with the RBZ.

He also claimed that he was not a Government employee bound by the Official Secrets Act.

In his response, prosecutor Mr Oscar Madhume told the court on Monday that Manda and Makena were both employed by the RBZ and were bound by secrecy provisions of the bank.

He said the RBZ Act does not allow employees to divulge or share information regarded as official.

“The basis of the allegations is emanating from the fact that RBZ was working on a document for de-dollarisation and it was discovered that the document, which was regarded as internal, was now for public consumption without the Governor making it public.

“Evidence from witnesses said that the leaked documents were still being worked upon and not yet ripe for public release and the same was regarded as confidential information. They (witnesses) indicated as to who, amongst RBZ employees, and how it was shared.

“It is not in dispute that it has no RBZ logo, the issues before you are not about logo, but contents that were shared to the public,” he said. Herald.

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