Ecocash loses court battle against RBZ

High Court Judge Justice Webster Chinamora has dismissed EcoCash Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd urgent application to have RBZ compelled to unfreeze its Ecocash agents accounts that were frozen without notice recently.

The applicant, Ecocash had sought for an interim interdict against RBZ after the latter gave a directive on May 4  that all EcoCash agents with a threshold exceeding $100 000 a month had been suspended and frozen with immediate effect.

The central bank alleged that the value and volume of transactions undertaken by high threshold were inconsistent, not only with their business profiles but and declared line of business, but also with normal mobile money business.

In his ruling Justice Chinamora said it was the agents who had the locus standi to apply to the court alleging that the actions of RBZ were unjustifiable since they had not flouted the law or abused the ecocash platform not the vice versa.

He said the court can not interdict a lawful act as the central bank was acting accordingly.

“The law is established that an interim interdict will not be granted to a person whose rights in a thing have already been taken by operation of law at the time he or she makes an application for interim relief.

 “It would be a disjuncture for an executive to exercise its legitimate statutory mandate and then have the court undermine that interdict,” said Chinamora.

Chinamora said Ecocash had used the wrong route to have its issue addressed and ordered the mobile operator to pay the cost of the suit.

“My conclusion in no way means that the applicant can not approach the court, but it has selected the wrong method to vindicate the rights it seeks so protect. 

“In view of the conclusion, I have reached on the issue of locus standi, the fatal defect in the provisional order and that it is incompetent to interdict something done by operation of law, it is unnecessary for me to delve into the merits of the case,” ruled Chinamora.

EcoCash through its lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu argued closure of its agents’ accounts had affected a majorityof people who did not have access to bank accounts, most of whom were in rural areas.

RBZ was represented by lawyer ABC Chinake on the case.