ECOCASH on Wednesday read a riot act to its rogue agents, amid reports that they are manipulating cash and selling it at illegal and astronomical rates, adding that 4 000 have so far been suspended.
In a statement, EcoCash warned that any illicit activities by agents would be charged accordingly.
Despite suspending about 4 000 agents, EcoCash has also vowed to terminate the contracts of all those found on the wrong side of the law in an effort to lessen cash crunch problems in the country.
“EcoCash advices all its agents that it does not condone any illicit activities by them.
“We have consistently maintained this position in our various communications directly to all agents through the various forums we hold across the country.
Any agent charging above the authorised commission levels will be charged accordingly.
“We have so far suspended over 4 000 agents and will not hesitate to act accordingly on any reported cases of charging above the authorized commission levels outside the EcoCash platform,” EcoCash said.
The illegal practice by EcoCash agents has also reduced the real value of salaries and wages earned by the Zimbabwean worker, with the agents at times charging as much as 60% in order for one to make a cash out.
The Reserve Bank Zimbabwe (RBZ), according to Governor John Mangudya’s Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review, said plans were afoot to increase cash in circulation to make it easy for the productive sector and ordinary people to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the economy.
“Failure to get cash is undermining the confidence in the local currency, as well as forcing economic agents to resort to the illegal transactions in foreign currency and to selling cash at a premium.
“Accordingly, without prejudice to our cash-light society drive, which has served the country very well, the bank will continue to inject additional notes and coins on a gradual basis to support productive (sectors) and lessen the inconvenience caused by physical cash shortages to the transacting public,” Mangudya said.
On Monday, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) expressed concern over reports that EcoCash agents were selling cash at high and prohibitive rates, adding that investigations had now been opened to deal with the perpetrators.
“We are concerned about the volumes of reports we have received in connection with EcoCash agents manipulating cash ecosystems to their advantage by selling cash at uncouth and prohibitive rates. We are aware that this practice is enabled and supported at systematic levels,” Zacc added.
The anti-corruption body said investigations to determine and charge the real perpetrators behind the EcoCash rot have now been opened, adding that they hoped Econet Zimbabwe and the RBZ will also look into matter with view to curbing this illegal practice.
However, this riot act has resulted in an artificial shortage of hard currency on the market as agents are reluctant to trade in fear of arrest.