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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 14:23 GMT
Zimbabwe press urges bank shake-up
Zimbabwean Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono
Heads may roll if Gono continues his crackdown
Zimbabwe's papers have called for a long hard look to be taken at the country's banking sector in the wake of a wave of arrests of senior figures implicated in a banking scandal.

The opposition Daily News warned that many banks could go to the wall if the man responsible for launching the crackdown on alleged corruption in financial institutions, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, did his job thoroughly.

"Many of Zimbabwe's banks have teetered on the edge of collapse... It remains to be seen which of these banks have more political clout than the others, which will be saved and which will collapse completely.

Where heads should roll, we expect to see them rolling
The Herald
"The scrutiny of Zimbabwe's banks is long overdue and perhaps when Mr Gono has finished with the more blatantly unscrupulous institutions, he will turn the spotlight onto the bigger names in Zimbabwe's banking," the paper said.

"No sacred cows"

An editorial in the government-owned paper The Herald blamed "economic saboteurs" for the crisis, and declared that the government would be ruthless in tracking them down.

"Never before or since has Zimbabwe been up against cases of corruption that depict the total lack of conscience, patriotism or the sheer greed of some people... If this is not economic sabotage, what is?" the paper asked.

The mess in the sector should have been detected a long time ago
The Herald
"The writing is on the wall, the axe is out and the government and law-enforcement agents are going after economic saboteurs like animated windmills... There are no sacred cows and no-one is above the law... Where heads should roll, we expect to see them rolling."

Accountants called to account

A commentary in the same paper called on accounting firms and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to accept some responsibility for allowing corruption to flourish for too long.

"Accounting firms must take some flak for the mess in the financial sector... Accountants are 'wilfully blind' to the fraudulent nature of transactions that go on... and should not be left out in the crackdown by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe," the writer, Sifelani Tsiko, said.

"The RBZ should shoulder the blame for failing to monitor and regulate the financial sector in the country. The mess in the sector should have been detected a long time ago and wiped squeaky clean to enhance the image and performance of the sector," he added.

The privately-owned Financial Gazette said that greater transparency was essential if confidence in the banking sector was to be restored.

"The central bank should... ensure that a requirement for transparency is an integral part of its cocktail of measures to overhaul the whole sector."

"Relevant information pertaining to the soundness and stability of banking institutions should be readily available to the public," it said.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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