By Megameno Shikwambi
The minority shareholder in the looted SME Bank, Enock Kamushinda has been caught up in a web of corruption back in his home country, Zimbabwe, committed by his Metbank involving millions of dollars, according to a BDO forensic audit.
The scandal which has been described as shocking, has reignited speculation on whether Namibian authorities did a thorough background check on Kamushinda, before he opened shop in the country.
Kamushinda was the chairperson of the SME Bank board of directors until the time the Bank of Namibia took matters into its own hands by March 2017.
The implicated bank had 30% shares in SME Bank.
Metbank has been slammed for carrying out a looting spree at the SME Bank with shoddy investments reportedly made in South Africa which left the bank penniless.
The Bank of Namibia chipped in to rescue the overall financial stability of the banking sector before having it liquidated while a hunt for the lost monies is currently under-way.
Kamushinda has lost a Supreme Court case in which he challenged the liquidation of the SME Bank.
Hundreds of Namibians have been left unemployed with dozens of clients unable to recover their monies.
A revealing BDO forensic audit carried out on Zimbabwe’s National Social Security Authority (NSSA) shows that Kamushinda’s bank looted millions of dollars with the backing of the Zimbabwean minister of labour and social welfare, Prisca Mupfumira.
The audit comes in the wake of the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led administration having widened the anti-corruption net which has dragged along some high profile government officials including the minister.
According to the audit, NSSA entered into a number of transactions with Metbank most of which did not make economic sense from NSSA’s point of view.
The BDO findings are that this resulted in huge exposures to NSSA which stood at US$62 003 796. “It is pertinent to note that NSSA management had assessed Metbank as a high risk client which could not be granted new facilities,” the report notes.
Interestingly, Metbank was able to secure a deal in Namibia which culminated into the creation of the SME Bank after President Hage Geingob, then minister of trade, granted a license.
Kamushinda is said to have landed facilities which were not merited because of pressure from the now arrested Zimbabwean minister of public service, labour and social welfare.
Breaking down the NSSA exposure
According to the BDO audit which has been presented before the parliament of Zimbabwe, on the first tranche NSSA gave Metbank treasury bills worth US$62 250 000 on a custodial arrangement.
The exposure to NSSA can be broken down as follows: Treasury Bills- First Tranche ( US$37 350 000), Second Tranche ( US$20 000 000), Subtotal ( US$57 350 00), Loan Facilities (US$4 653 896), Total Exposure (US$62 003 796).
“Metbank proceeded to pledge NSSA TBs with a face value of US$37 350 000 without getting appropriate authority from NSSA.
The letter which authorized Metbank to use the TBs was written and signed by the Executive Assistant to the General Manager, who had no authority to act in such a manner,” said BDO in the audit.
NSSA also gave Metbank treasury bills with a face value of US$20 million on a custodial arrangement while Metbank sought and was granted authority by NSSA, at the right level to use the TBs.
However, the report notes that when NSSA discovered that its TBs worth US$37 359 000 had been used by Metbank without getting appropriate authority, they took the matter to court.
“Metbank then advised NSSA that henceforth it was freezing all transactions with NSSA until the issue of US$37 350 000 TBs had been settled by a Zimbabwean court. According to the audit, the position taken by Metbank resulted in a number of difficult situations.
NSSA was unable to recover its TBs with a face value of US$37 350 000 (first tranche) and US$20 million (second trance).
NSSA was also unable to recover loan advances of US$4 653 796.
As Kamushinda’s shoddy deals unravel in Zimbabwe, SME Bank liquidators have begun to crake the code of how the bank was looted with some monies having already been recovered.
In a recent report, a local daily wrote that “Advocate Raymond Heathcote, acting on behalf of SME Bank liquidators David Bruni and Ian McLaren, said that the case read like a step-by-step guide to robbing a bank.”