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ITWeb Africa

Friday, Feb 28th

Bank employees fired over Zim bond notes social media share

Bank employees fired over Zim bond notes social media share

Post Office Savings Bank fined US$500 000 by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Taking pictures of Zimbabwe's bond notes inside a bank vault and distributing them on social media before the currency was officially rolled out has cost some bank workers their jobs.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had said at the weekend that the bond notes would be introduced on Monday but some employees at Zimbabwe's Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) distributed images of the money from inside the bank's vault on Sunday.

Employees were subsequently dismissed from work and the bank fined US$500 000, according to Zimbabwe Central Bank Governor John Mangudya.

"The Reserve Bank advises that it has imposed an administrative fine of US$500 000 on POSB. The employees of POSB who took, publicised and distributed the images on social media have been dismissed with immediate effect," he confirmed.

No further details have been made available regarding the number of employees involved and sources say it is too early to ascertain whether employees will take legal action over the move.

Bond notes are Zimbabwe's latest local currency said to be backed by a US$200 million facility from the Africa Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank), according to the government.

Zimbabwe has been using a multi-currency system since 2009 when it ditched its own currency that had fallen in value.

The bond notes have been introduced to curb a constraining cash crunch as well as to incentivise exporters – through a 5% credit to export earnings – and will have equal value to the United States Dollar.

Social media has been abuzz with posts, pictures, ridicule messages and caricature of the new notes trending on various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp among others. The topic #bondnotes was trending on Twitter in Zimbabwe on Monday and Tuesday.

The central bank has however warned that destruction or tampering with the bond notes will land offenders in trouble, highlighting that "abuse of bond notes and any information relating thereto will not be tolerated".

Zimbabwe is also pursuing regulation of OTT (Over the Top) services in the wake of several recent protests, organised through social media platforms, against the government and its plans for the bond notes.

Another protest has also been organised for tomorrow to register displeasure with the bond notes at a time when most people are unable to withdraw money from their bank accounts.

The #tajamuka group has utilised social media to mobilise Zimbabweans against the government while the #thisflag movement has also taken up to Twitter and Facebook.

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