Friday, 24 April 2020

SEVEN BUREAU DE CHANGE ACCOUNTS FROZEN


Two more bureaux de change have had their licences suspended by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on suspicion of not declaring foreign currency transactions and they and three other companies now under investigation for illicit foreign currency transactions have had their bank accounts frozen.

The five join two other bureaux de change whose licences were suspended and bank accounts frozen a fortnight ago. One of those bureaux de change has already paid an administrative fine of Z$2,5 million.

RBZ launched its investigations when it became obvious that there was a surge in black market foreign currency trading that was driving up the black market exchange rate to unprecedented levels with a major knock-on effect on prices of most goods and services. 

RBZ believes a small group of bureaux de change and other financial companies are at the centre of the buying spree for black market foreign currency, possibly to service another group of buyers, and the resultant manipulation of black market rates.

Much of the recent large jump in Zimbabwean prices arose as a result of foreign exchange rates rising fast as a result of this illicit buying spree, leading to millions being hit hard by the actions of a small group.

In a statement yesterday, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said the operating bureau-de-change licences of two private limited companies, Shons Finance Services and Superdeal Enterprises, which trades as Kwik Forex, had been suspended on allegations that they have not been declaring, or have been under-declaring, their foreign currency transactions in breach of the law.

In addition the bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit is investigating three other private limited companies: Stallion Financial Services, Forbes Financial Services and Juso Global. None of these three are licensed to deal in foreign currency but are alleged to be doing so. The accounts of all five have been frozen. 

They join Cash Twenty Four and Crediconnect, two licensed bureaux de change whose licences are suspended and bank accounts frozen on similar allegations a fortnight ago.

Since then these first two have been charged by the RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit of breaching anti-money laundering requirements and failing to record and report foreign exchange transactions as required by law, the RBZ statement said.

Cash Twenty Four has now admitted to failing to record and declare foreign currency transactions and has paid the imposed administrative fine of Z$2,5 million. The case against Crediconnect is still pending determination, said the statement. The intelligence unit is now investigating all five new cases. Dr Mangudya said RBZ would continue monitoring financial services companies and would deal effectively with market indiscipline. Herald

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