BOND NOTES - THE GREATEST HEIST OF MODERN TIMES
8 January 2017
They say that the best heists are the ones that are pulled off without anyone knowing that they've been robbed. Well this one happened in plain view of 13 million people and most of them knew that it was going down and yet, despite a few protests, a few small whimpers.. the looting has been done and the thieves seem to have pulled it off. Who, you ask, am I talking about? Where what why and when, you ask with interest.
The thieves - Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF mafia.
The victims - the people of Zimbabwe.
The amount - well I'll leave that hanging for a moment, because it’s really too much to take in. I'll have to get you there in stages.
If you Google “the greatest heist in modern times", you'll come across some pretty big hits, an upmarket jewelry in Paris, a couple of banks, the old favorite Great Train Robbery and so on, but all of these are nothing compared to what I have to tell you. Make no mistake, these are large sums of money we're talking about, 100 million bucks is more than I make in a week, but it still pales in comparison to what I'm gonna tell about.
OK so, here's how it goes down.
You start off by rigging an election in 2013 - easily done when your goons are the ones who compile a false voters’ roll and you're the one doing the counting and the announcement of the results. Now remember, his Bobness had already destroyed the Zim economy resulting in hyperinflation and the total destruction of the Zim dollar (imagine a country that doesn't even have its own currency) but a Unity Government restores some semblance of sanity and begins using the US dollar as currency.
So, you rig the elections, take over the country and begin plundering and looting all over again. This results in gross overspending. You earn about US$3 billion in taxes, but you spend about US$4 billion a year on government salaries, looting, Swiss bank accounts and whatever else you feel like. Pretty soon you run out of money. The Reserve Bank runs out of reserve and the tank hits empty.
Now this would normally put the brakes on the looting - yes? Er... no… this is Mugabe we're talking about. The looting carries on at a pace hard to fathom (leaving aside the fact that during this time Bobster has taken control of the Marange diamond fields and, by his own admission, managed to lose US$15 Billion - oops!)
So where to get more money? Simple - you empty people's bank accounts.
The Reserve banks starts issuing IOUs to the banks of Zimbabwe. Suddenly the banks don't have US dollars in reserve any more. All they have is an IOU from the Reserve Bank.
Where are the US dollars?
We don't know. But what we do know that Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa’s son was caught at the Beit Bridge border post with US$ 6 Million in his car. (I think that’s enough evidence we need?)
We also know that Dollar notes became increasingly scarce over the last 3 months, first the 100s disappeared, then the 50s, then the 20s and 10s until all you could get was 5s and 1s. Just like that Bob and his zanoids drained the country of cash in preparation for the introduction of Bond notes.
What are Bond notes you ask?
Well imagine you have a cow and then Bob comes up to you and says "I'm taking the cow but don't worry, I'll give you a piece of paper with the word 'cow' written on it.
So US dollars disappear, people queue all night just to be able to withdraw US$50 a day and the country grinds to a halt. All you can do is make electronic transfers of virtual money. But there actually isn't any money around.
And then this week people are astonished to find the ATMs back online and spitting out the all new glorious Bond notes. Pieces of paper that are supposedly worth the same as US $ but are completely useless outside of Zimbabwe.
Tendai Biti (the MDC Minister of Finance between 2009 and 2013 in the Unity Government) estimates the domestic debt of the ZANU PF government to be US$6 Billion. Yup. US$6 Billion. They are going to meet this debt with Bond notes, or toilet paper if you will.
Imagine you have a bank account in Harare with US$ 10 000 of your hard-earned cash. One day it’s worth the equivalent of 150 000 Rand and the next day it won't buy you a castle beer.
Meanwhile back in Harare, ZIMRA (the Zimbabwean Revenue authority) still insists on being paid in US dollars.
Already, inflation kicks in - within days the gap between the US dollar and the Bond note has begun to widen.
Ssssssh. Listen carefully... Can you hear it?
That's the sound of Zimbabwe's mafia giggling like little children, hardly able to believe that they've pulled off a 6 Billion Dollar heist in broad daylight!