The government has published Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021 (SI 127 of 2021), which details civil penalties for those who infringe the Foreign Exchange Act (22:05) and the Banking and Use Promotion Act (24:24).
The penalties are as follows:
Pricing goods and services only in forex
In line with the prevailing multicurrency environment, any business according to SI 127 of 2021 that refuses to take local currency at the official exchange rate for goods or services priced in USD may face a fine of up to ZWL$50,000. Business can not price or charge goods and services exclusively in USD.
Use of auction funds
“One will be guilty, if he or she without Exchange Control authority, uses the foreign currency obtained directly or indirectly from a foreign exchange auction or an authorised dealer for a purpose other than that specified in the application to partake in the auction or in the application for foreign currency.”SI 127 of 2021
If you participate in the forex auction you will now be fined for not using that money for its intended purpose. According to a report by newZWire, the fine is pegged at ZWL$1 million or the equivalent amount to the value of the foreign currency taken from the auction. In this case, whichever is higher, is one that you’ll have to pay.
Pricing goods above the auction rate
Anyone who puts a premium on goods and services in local currency to induce a buyer to purchase in foreign currency will now face a ZWL$50,000 fine. In short, there should be no discount for customers paying in foreign currency.
Issuing a local currency receipt for a foreign currency purchase
If your customer pays for something in USD and you give them a receipt in local currency (ZWL$) or record that the sale was in ZWL$ then you will be facing a ZWL$50,000 fine or the equivalent amount in forex.
Banks will be penalised for their clients
Banks are now liable for the information submitted by their clients should they make an application for forex. If a client submits false information and the bank does not do its due diligence then the financial institution will face a ZWL$5 million fine.
If you are found guilty of any of the new regulations according to SI 127 of 2021, you will have 48 hours to submit your appeal. The submission will have to show evidence that the fine was a mistake, and if the situation is not reversed then you must pay the stipulated amount. If you do not pay the fine in time you will be charged an additional 5% a day of the sum over a period of 90 days.
If the 90-day elapses without the fine being paid, you will be facing a six-month to a year prison sentence.
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