Another conspiracy theory that make the rounds is that the central bank, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is involved in the informal and illegal money changing practice. Now Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube has dispelled this, with him saying that he doesn’t think the RBZ is involved in that practice. He was saying this just a week after the central bank’s governor Dr. John Mangudya disclosed that influential people are currently running black markets. Talking about the issue, the Minister said;
I don’t know whether there is a ‘mafia’ or any bigwigs involved in the parallel market, but clearly, there’re people involved . . . But I can assure the nation that the organs of law are looking into that and are going to deal with that to make sure that illicit behavior or money laundering in that way stops and individuals who are doing that should curtail those activities and desist from such illicit behavior. I don’t think the Reserve Bank is part of any illicit activity that is as far as I know. Certainly, the Reserve Bank is part of the solution and certainly if there’re some allegations like that, obviously, they’re going to be investigated in the usual way like any individual ought to be investigated in the usual way and the long arm of the law will certainly take its course.
You can notice that he said this from the top of his head meaning that he isn’t sure whether RBZ is or isn’t involved in the money changing scheme. That’s why he is saying there is a need to investigate to for him to be sure. The minister’s statement also confirms Dr. Mangudya’s assertion that there is a group of individuals who are making the black market flourish.
Why people suspect the RBZ
People have long suspected that the RBZ is into the illegal money changing practice because they suspect that the central bank secretly prints money (local currency) to buy forex from citizens and give the forex to corrupt politicians. Furthermore, this is backed by the claim that banks seem to be always issuing new notes or coins, a signal that the money was recently printed without the public’s knowledge. This goes as far as to point out that whenever the President goes on a foreign trip, new notes and coins are seen on the street, meaning that the RBZ would be buying forex to finance the President’s foreign trips.
Another reason is that the RBZ has virtually done nothing to deter the money changers who are always seen roaming in the CBD (Central Business District) every day. Accordingly, people suspect that RBZ’s reluctance to prosecute the money changers stems from the reason that they are colluding with them. Additionally, the RBZ has a unit called the Financial Intelligence Unit which should be in the habit of arresting moneychangers and people or companies doing all crimes related to money, but the institution seems dysfunctional. Interestingly the Financial Intelligence Unit is under the RBZ’s management. The weird thing is that the RBZ blames the Financial Intelligence Unit of incompetence as if it’s a distinct institution from it but in fact, it’s their institution.
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