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Government suspends EcoCash and all mobile money. This is BAD, VERY BAD!

The Government has suspended mobile money transactions. This is the statement that was released this evening:

Government has, with immediate effect, undertaken a series of prudent and coordinated interventions to deal with malpractices, criminality and economic sabotage perpetrated by the “wolves in sheep skins amongst our population” that His Excellency the President alluded to during his official address on the occasion of the Hero’s burial of Cde Stanley Nleya (Gagisa) at the National Shrine.

These measures include the suspension of all monetary transactions on phone-based mobile money platforms in order to facilitate intrusive investigations, leading to the arrest and prosecution of offenders.

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Concurrently, the measures will also include the suspension of all trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

These measures are to subsist until such time that the mobile money platforms have been reformed to their original purpose and all the current phantom rates of exchange have converged into one genuine rate that is determined by market forces under the Foreign Currency Auction System which was launched by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 23rd June 2020.

Operational modalities and details of the envisaged measures are going to be announced by the relevant monetary, regulatory and law enforcement authorities in the next few days.

Government will concurrently ensure that prudent measures are also put in place to mitigate and prevent any collateral damage that these interventions may cause to the innocent transacting public who were using these platforms.

Government is in possession of impeccable intelligence which constitutes a prima facie case whereby the phone-based mobile money systems of Zimbabwe are conspiring, with the help of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, either deliberately or inadvertently, in illicit activities that are sabotaging the economy.

These activities include: –

a) Illegal externalization of foreign currency through transfer mispricing;

b) Acting as banks outside the purpose for which they were originally licensed, as non-banking financial institutions. This includes, in the particular case of Ecocash, holding well in excess of ZWL$8 billion distributed across just over 501 000 agent/merchant lines as lat 10 June 2020, which is not under the scrutiny of the Financial Intelligence Unit;

c) Fraudulently creating and issuing non-attributable and non-auditable agent cellphone lines/accounts;

d) Hiding irreconcilable accounts in suspense accounts which hold huge credit balances for unjustifiably long periods;

e) Ecocash, in particular, is acting as the centre pivot of the galloping black market foreign exchange rate and therefore, fuelling the incessant price hikes of goods and services that are bedevilling the economy and causing untold hardship to the people of Zimbabwe.

In this regard, it has been conspiring with big merchants to act as their conduit through which they transfer hundreds of millions of dollars per day to runners on the street who then buy US Dollars on their behalf;

f) Rampant, often arrogant, non-compliance with directives issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Financial Intelligence Unit;

g) Facilitating illicit trade in notes and coins, at contrived rates of between 30% and 50%, thus causing artificial shortages of the same within the banking system;

h) Criminally allowing agent lines that were banned by the RBZ to continue trading illegally;

i) Using bulk airtime sales at discounted prices which are cross rated to phantom USD exchange rates, which further distort the Zimbabwe market and deliberately mop up US Dollars from the black market, thus forcing up the rate of exchange in a manner that has hitherto been difficult to explain for
the monetary authorities;

j) Engaging in rampant unchecked tax evasion;

k) Failure to report suspicious transactions or to take action against them;

l) Creation of illegal transient and permanent money through airtime loans, unaccounted wallet-to-bank and bank-to-wallet transactions and other malpractices;

m) Maintaining unauditable mobile phone lines or accounts which are being used by criminal syndicates, in connivance with insiders, to steal money from subscribers through such fraudulent practices as teeming and lading;

n) Acting as conduits for the circulation of counterfeit USD notes; and

o) Facilitating criminal activities through the non-enforcement of KYC requirements; and

Ecocash, OneMoney, Telecash and MyCash Mobile Money platforms are all complicit in these illicit activities in varying degrees. Ecocash, however, which controls nearly 94% of all mobile money transactions, is the centre pivot of this problem and its resultant impact on Zimbabwe’s economy.

The impact is exacerbated by the existence of fake counters on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, which is epitomized by the so-called Old Mutual Implied Exchange Rate (OMIR). This, in turn, results in four or more US: ZWL parallel market exchange rates operating in the market.

At any time, therefore, there is the official rate, an Ecocash rate, a OneMoney rate and the OMIR among others. As the RBZ Governor aptly observed recently, there are multiple contrived phantom exchange rates in use in the Zimbabwe Economy, which conspire to defeat fiscal policy.

Statement issued by
N Mangwana
Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services


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22 thoughts on “Government suspends EcoCash and all mobile money. This is BAD, VERY BAD!

  1. Aaaargh. Do they even begin to comprehend the extremely far reaching consequences of this action on the ordinary citizens who are just trying to survive day to day and have nothing whatsoever to do with the black market?!?!?! Do they know how many of their parastatal utilities and services rely heavily on these services?!?! Do they even think about all the low income earners whose salaries are paid via this system?!?! They couldn’t provide enough cash a few years ago, they encouraged us to go electronic, use mobile money, pay online for their own services now they spit in our faces!! Enough

  2. Can you suffer ‘boiling frog’ syndrome and ‘death by a thousand cuts’ at the same time? Certainly feels like it! 🐸🌡️🔪🇿🇼

  3. cash yacho ahisikuwanikwa ecocash yabva yavhara apa uchinzi gara kumba apa ahuna bank kwekuti unowana cash mmmm unotengesa mabhero

  4. Honestly what pulled me to this article was the “This is very bad” headline. Looking forwad to a techzim commentary soon!! (As always😅)

  5. these gyz never change really all they think about is themselves hiding behind the fact that they want to control the rate, they are scheming to steal that money i foresee ahhh bastards

  6. The upside is this might stabilize our local currency if they contain the black market. the down side is that it takes us back to the stone age as far as ecommerce is concerned. But the bigger picture is to have a stable currency with stable prices of goods and services. This takes priority before we can talk ecommerce. if this is what it takes to achieve that then so be it. This time I go with the bigger picture.

    1. the black market has always existed even before ecocash. The question is why do we have a black market. Because we export raw materials and buy finished goods. finished good are usually minimum 100 times more expensive than the raw material. We do not manufacture anything for the international market and even for ourselves. The newest mineral that Zimbabwe exports right now is Lithium which is used for batteries technology. We should be making batteries ourselves and join the massive green energy supply chain which has the biggest growing market or storing energy. laptops, phones , cars, airoplanes all need batteries which we should be making. If you still believe Zanu PF can change the direction this country has taken you are a fool.

  7. I think Zimbabwe now needs to have a civil war with a fully armed opposition just like the way colonialism was defeated. Revolutions are not born peacefully

  8. well done Mr President. These measures are very prudent. Surely why would i pay more for same goods and currency if using ecocash? Zvinorwadza. Why should one pay 40% premium to get cash?. yes the unbanked public should get banked and not rely on virtual money which Econet can create at any time. Econet is the problem. If I had my way, I would ban then.

    1. when did ecocash create cash. Dont be foolish. Econet does not creat cash. Its like saying DHL creates parcels. Zanu PF has mastered the art of brainwashing the likes of you and others. The 40% premium has to do with shortage of bank notes a responsibility of RGZ a.k.a Govement a.k.a Zanu PF
      Ontop of that RBZ pumped in RTGS figures into the system to mop up forex resulting in ever running away rates. Bad money chasing good money. Dont be misled this all has to do with ZANU PF failure not ecocash or anybody else.

  9. They should have banned those wholesale Tuck shops too, ndiko kwakabva rating dzese, they know it but they won’t take any action, so this decision is biased…
    On top of that, those tuckshops don’t pay any tax,!!

  10. The movers and shakers on the black market don’t happen on the Ecocash platform, but on the internet banking platforms of various banks. Millions (maybe billions even!) move on the platform on a daily basis! And there is no way this can be stopped because shutting down internet banking is literally shutting down the whole economy. The RBZ knows internet banking is where its at. But as usual the small person is the scape goat and biggest casualty in all this. Monies people change to dollars on the ecocash platform is really small change to meet daily needs. I remember the same happened back in the Gono era when he limited withdrawals to $300 000 which was not enough for a combi ride to and from work. This was done under the pretext that the cash withdrawals were fuelling the black market. Yet Gono was the biggest black market dealer of his day with his runners getting freshly minted “bags” (literally) of cash to change at roadport. Now the economy has evolved and the means of paying changed, but the authorities still use the same modus operandi – be seen to be doing something (with devastating consequences to the small many) and yet they know where big transactions that move the rate happen. Who knows maybe they are actually involved in the same market! Time will tell.

  11. This is a needed development. I wrote this project in trust and good faith but because Strive Masiyiwa never wanted to pay me a cent they chose the corrupt way and sidelined me for professionalism now everyone is crying. However, people are not meant to lose their money but instead, the Government needs work with me professionally like I had some meeting with Netone management over the years, to shed light on how mobile money transfer service needs to be governmental provision not Strive Masiyiwa business.
    This project is now Global and we can’t stop good and effient development now.
    Their corruption costed us billions and they are still proving to be mere wolves indeed.
    This is when Strive Masiyiwa gets ready to pump out money to corrupt the Government but no, let us not suffer inferiority complex!
    I even read rumours on Whatsap wanting payment solutions but however they do it, it’s empty without myself the innovator of Mobile money transfer service project.
    If United Nations means unity and oneness for good cause, they don’t have to ignore global commerce advancement in our civilizations.
    I have local and global policies for my innovation, why would I die away complaining when even World Bank itself scouts for these notions through the Young Professional People programme?
    Lastly my campaign to be in government is not title oriented. I am a real benevolent philanthropic activist and a needed idealist and problem solver.

    Admire Phiri.

  12. Honestly speaking these people who are advising him are stupid. The rising of the rate is all their fault because they are not giving money to peoeple which makes the people who want money to go on the black market. Simple and straightforward

  13. The GVT want to come with their own same project, econet is a threat to GVT its actually moving at a faster rate, GVT system is way back ,they cant cope, this is a hasty decision,ITS A DO OR DYE, what about citizens who are going to loose emploment as well as grannys in rual arreas depending on ecocash ,what are measures in place to combat efficiency exhumed by Eccocash,ZERO,Masiiwa ibenzi renjere,Muchinda unomudii,

  14. I WOULD LIKE TO ADVISE THE PRESIDENT AND ZANU TO STOP PICKING RBZ GOVERNORS FROM CBZ THAT IN IT SELF IS A TURNING POINT FOR ZIM ECONOMY, JUST TRY IT MR RESIDENT PRESIDENT.

  15. We appreciate the articles but whats with the shitty headlines, the headline would have me believe there is an analysis of sorts but I scroll all the way to the end there is nothing just what is already published everywhere

  16. This move was long overdue. The RBZ has a valid argument and if we are to progress the Ecocash ponzi scheme has to be stopped.

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