We Paid E1.9 Million Shortfall to Sweet Members- CBE Governor

By Sizwe Dlamini

Candid. This best describes the 2nd Edition of the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) media engagement, titled ‘Tee and Coffee with The Governor,’ held at the MTN Golf Park on Monday Morning.

The media engagement is hosted by the CBE and is meant to facilitate an open dialogue between the Bank and the local media houses regarding pertinent economic issues affecting the country. The idea is to ensure that journalists are free to ask the Governor anything, hence the coffee setting.

One of the topical issues in the country at the country is the ‘Swazi Secrets’ leak conundrum that has got the country talking. Eswatini Observer Managing Editor, Mbongeni Mbingo wasted no time in asking the Governor to give more detail regarding Eswatini being part of money laundering activities.

To give some context, the ‘Swazi Secrets’ leaks entail the alleged leak of over 890 000 internal records from the Eswatini Financial Intelligence Unit. The leaks contain confidential financial information and involve sensitive data related to financial transactions, banking activities, or other confidential information within the financial sector of Eswatini.

The leaked information which alleges that there is money laundering taking place in the country was brought to the fore by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The Governor responded by firstly condemning the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive data and affirming ongoing investigations into the matter, emphasizing the Central Bank’s determination to ensure data security. He also stated that as a country they will not tolerate hackers.

“There is a team that is coordinating this matter, and an intense investigation is being carried out by all affected institutions. The investigation seeks to find out and determine our processes as a country. Are our processes wanting? This is crucial because we need to ensure that we instill confidence in everyone that our financial system is sound, compliant, and protects the interests of everyone.”

“We are not going to entertain hackers and all those that intend to cause reputational damage to the country. If there is anyone found to have leaked information, we as the Central Bank and other government agencies will ensure that those people are brought to book,” the Governor stressed.

Mbingo went on to ask about the issue of SWEET and accountability for those responsible for the mess, stating that the Central Bank should do more to protect emaSwati from such.

Dr. Mnisi responded by stating that the CBE gave the SWEET matter the attention it deserved. He assured members of the media that all SWEET members would receive what is owed to them.

“As the CBE we took an executive decision to ensure that we pay all SWEET members with claims that can be verified. Worth mentioning is that other members are being verified so they can also receive their investments. We then also made sure that we cover the shortfall in the Fund which was around E1.7 – E1.9 million.”

Mnisi further stated that there are legal processes that are currently being undertaken regarding the SWEET matter. He said if those investigations unearth criminal activity by certain individuals then they will be prosecuted.

“I have been advised that there are legal processes that are taking place in parallel with the liquidation of SWEET so that lessons are learned for those who might want to swindle emaSwati of their hard-earned money in the future,” the Governor emphasized.

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