Black market rates: RBZ tightens screws on EcoCash

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INTERBANK rates are expected to tumble this week as black market forex dealers are rushing to clear their float due to a directive given to Steward Bank on Thursday (yesterday), Zim Morning Post has learnt.

The panic mode is as a result of the RBZ, through its Financial Intelligence Unit of Zimbabwe (FIUZ), ordered Stewart Bank to closely monitor all transactions being made by EcoCash-linked agents suspected of money laundering and forex dealings.

“We have noted the rampant abuse of mobile money platforms for purposes of illicit foreign currency dealings and money laundering.

We have noted huge daily inflows into the Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) account, without any apparent underlying business rationale,” read the letter which was directed to Steward Bank chief executive Courage Mashavave.

The FIUZ said it had orderd the mobile money service unit to relicense all EcoCash Agent lines and monitor the transactions through the Know Your Customer (KYC) policy.

While EcoCash is relicensing the agent lines, FIUZ also ordered banks not to make transactions into MMT accounts of third parties.

The banks were also ordered not to make payments exceeding ZWL$100 000 per month into Ecocash MMT accounts while EcoCash shall, from time to time, provide the bank with lists and details of its agents who would have undergone the relicencing process and those allowed to transact above the given limits.

The move by the RBZ is meant to curtail agents who are using the mobile money transfer to illegally buy foreign currency thus causing the skyrocketing of prices and commodities in the country.

The battle, however, to control the foreign exchange has been a nightmare to government as most of the dealers are linked to government and RBZ officials.

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