The National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) has run out of money to pay depositors, for the first time since it was opened in 1972 – thanks to PF’s unprecedented developments.
Most Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have been de-activated but customers are not told the truth; all they see when they want to withdraw cash is ‘no network’.
NATSAVE is a 100 percent Government owned financial institution, and that means the PF has untrammelled access to the money.
The Watchdog is reliably informed that the bank is broke and some branches have gone for months without cash to pay clients , especially in rural areas.
NATSAVE has 28 branches, of which 16 are in rural areas, and 12 in urban areas.
Another reason given by sources is that soldiers, borrowing huge amounts of money then decided to change the pay points to other banks. This scam is said to be coordinated by soldiers from payroll and the loanees because before one changes the pay point, they have to be cleared by the former bank.
The bank has since written to army command about the anomaly and trying to recover the money. under normal circumstances this is fraud.
In other parts of the country where Natsave has branches, the situation is the same though in Lusaka, ATMs are from time to time stocked with cash to ‘keep up appearances’.
Government established NATSAVE in 1972 in order to operate savings schemes in Zambia and to provide loans to low income earners and ‘unbanked’ citizens in rural areas.
But the PF cadres running the bank now have successfully turned it into another PF cash-cow.
Cephas Chabu, the managing director was appointed by the Rupiah Banda government but was retained by the PF after firing all the qualified bankers. Chabu remained because of one qualification: he is related to president Michael Sata.