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RBZ wants Standard Chartered to explain whereabouts of CEO Watungwa

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it is seeking clarity from Standard Chartered Zimbabwe over what happened to its chief executive officer who has been missing” for weeks.

This comes after a news reports that Ralph Watungwa, the bank’s local CEO, had been suspended and tied him to alleged abuse of a foreign currency auction run by the central bank.

Watungwa has also been accused of improperly authorized renovations at buildings owned by the bank.

StanChart declined to comment on the allegations or the possible suspension, saying it doesn’t comment on individual staff matters.

Watungwa, who has been CEO since 2012, hasn’t answered repeated calls and text messages made to his mobile phone over several days, according to Bloomberg.

The “central bank says it will wait for official comment from Standard Chartered, as it is an internal issue, to advise of the position,” Governor John Mangudya said. “We are still waiting for their report.”

But the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers is demanding prompt answers.

“We need Standard Chartered to come out clean, which is what they have always done whenever there is an issue with non-managerial members,” Peter Mutasa, the general secretary of the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union, said in an interview.

“Now that there are issues with the bank’s executive we demand the same transparency. We expect the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to also be transparent as well over this matter in their capacity as the regulator.”

Mutasa said union members had said that Watungwa hasn’t been seen at work recently. he’s been suspended amid a corruption scandal.

StanChart’s Zimbabwean unit is the oldest financial institution in Zimbabwe. It was founded in 1892 in a tent in Bulawayo. That was just two years after an expedition backed by Cecil John Rhodes set up a presence in the country initially known as Southern Rhodesia.

The nation became independent from the U.K. in 1980.

The London-based lender now has 390 employees in the country with a head office in Harare, and competes with local and South African banks.

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