The RBZs Financial Intelligence Unit has directed all banks to freeze bank accounts linked to Mobile Money Agents listed in a note that was leaked to the media.
Acting Director-General Financial Intelligence Unit Oliver Chiperesa ordered banks to freeze, with immediate effect, all Ecocash and OneMoney agents suspected of involvement in money laundering.
Read the directive below;
Directive to Freeze Bank Accounts of Attached List of Ecocash and OneMoney Customers (Agents) Suspected of Involvement in Illicit Foreign Currency Transactions and/or Money Laundering
Please find attached list of Ecocash and One Money customers suspected of involvement in illicit foreign currency transactions and/or money laundering.
You are directed to identify all accounts of the listed persons/entities that are linked either to Ecocash or to One Money (i.e. accounts that allow the customer to move funds between the bank account and the mobile money wallet, and/or vice versa) and to, immediately freeze such accounts.
You are also required to submit by close of business on 3 May 2020, KYC information in respect of each customer, including (a) details of the accounts identified and frozen including balances, (b) business address of the entity, (c) names of all directors (d) name and contact details of the MD/CEO (e) list of the shareholders (f) list of the Ultimate Beneficial Owners and (g) the entity’s nature of business and source of funds.
It is critical that the freezing is effected immediately as any delay can result in funds being moved from the accounts before freezing is effected.RBZ
The letter is accompanied by a list of 134 EcoCash and OneMomney agents whose accounts are to be frozen. The directive has already started being followed. Here’s what one of the specified entities received from their mobile money service provider:
What’s the Financial Intelligence Unit by the way?
It is a unit within the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe responsible for enforcing money laundering practices. The unit is autonomous as well and functions distinctly from the central bank. It was established in 2004 in terms of section 3 of the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act [Chapter 24:24].
Will this work?
This isn’t the first time such a directive has been given and in the past it isn’t exactly clear whether that has had a positive effect. Whilst it might have had an impact in the short term after a while rates always soar up again.
The quote wrongly attributed to Einstein comes to mind when it comes to some of the practices by the RBZ;
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.unknown
Right now, the official exchange rate between the USD and local currency has been fixed at 1:25. As long as they force an exchange rate on the market, an opportunity will be created for changing money especially because forex itself is scarce. Even the ‘most reputable’ businesses will eventually offer a more favouravble rate to anyone willing to sell to them when they really need the forex.
No, it will not work