It’s worrying that it took the past two weeks for the government to know the evils of a black market, yet in their nature, black markets are known to have a negative impact on the economy. We are now seeing the government starting to pay attention to deal with black markets. The President went as far as to say that black markets should now be treated as a national security threat.
We know the conspiracy theory of bigwigs running the black markets, something that many Zimbabweans have long suspected. Well for the first time, the RBZ admitted that influential people are fuelling the rise of black markets on a wholesale scale. It’s surprising that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) know about this yet it seems like it hasn’t done anything to put out the black market. It even had the audacity of saying that the Central Intelligence Organisation, the Financial Intelligence Unit, commercial banks, and the police are failing to do their duty to stem the black markets.
What is the Financial Intelligence Unit?
You may have not noticed it but RBZ was blaming itself for failing to deal with black markets. Why am I saying so? The RBZ runs the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is an overarching institution that should deal with all crimes related to money in Zimbabwe. In RBZ’s own words, the FIU is a “Unit (that) exists as a Unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, but has its own governing statutes, giving it a mandate distinct from that of the central bank”.
In-depth: Who is the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
The Bank Use Promotion & Financial Intelligence Unit was established in 2004 in terms of section 3 of the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act [Chapter 24:24].
The Unit exists as a Unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, but has its own governing statutes, giving it a mandate distinct from that of the central bank.
To be a leader in the provision of high quality financial intelligence in the national, regional and international fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism and for ensuring the safety and integrity of Zimbabwe’s financial system.
To formulate and implement strategies to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism
To comply with FATF Standards by financial institutions and Designated Non Financial Businesses and Professions
To assist in the detection, investigation and prosecution of money laundering and terrorist financing offenses
To provide timely and quality information to law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders
Inside the FIU, there is a task force that is empowered by the RBZ to enforce its rules.
The current membership of the National Task Force includes representatives from the following organizations:
Financial Intelligence Unit
Ministry of Home Affairs
Zimbabwe Republic Police
Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission
National Prosecuting Authority
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
Department of Immigration
Insurance and Pensions Commission
Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe
Take a look at that supposed taskforce. How can they all fail to stem black markets if their efforts are coordinated by RBZ? Yet it has the audacity to shame other organizations by saying that they are being incompetent. Apparently, the RBZ pulls the strings in this important institution. So why is it trying to hide behind its pointing finger and blame the police and commercial banks? Please RBZ own up to your incompetence guys. Was there any self-analysis by the RBZ before it threw the blame to others? If it had done self-evaluation (which would have shown that its FIU is not effective) then it stands to reason that it deliberately absolved itself yet it’s in the wrong.
After this, should people be blamed to think that that politicians and some well-politically connected businessman are running the black market? I suppose this is when the Finance Portfolio Committee comes in handy to grill the RBZ as to why it’s failing to deal with black markets.
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