Zimbabwe stops seizure of central bank assets

Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:37pm GMT

* Government orders end to property auctions

* Minister decries asset stripping by "vultures"

* Curator may be appointed to manage bank debts

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, June 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has ordered creditors owed millions of dollars by its bankrupt central bank to stop auctioning the bank's property, local state media reported on Sunday, saying the seizures were tantamount to asset stripping.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) failed to pay local and foreign companies about $1 billion mainly for fertiliser, seed, tractor and vehicle imports at the 2008 peak of an economic crisis which many people blame on President Robert Mugabe's policies.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper that the unity government Mugabe formed with rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had decided to halt the auctioning of the bank's assets by creditors.

"We (the cabinet) agreed to stop the attachment and auctioning of RBZ properties with immediate effect," he said, adding the government would soon publish a supporting legal notice. "It has become clear that some individuals and companies are acting like vultures after buying the bank's assets for a song."   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.