Illegal forex dealers in the spotlight as Money Laundering Bill sails through

THE Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Bill yesterday sailed through the National Assembly, with MPs suggesting that the legislation should deal with illegal foreign currency dealers.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The Bill was brought before Parliament by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, and it will amend the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act so that it is consistent with international standards and attract foreign direct investment.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance chairperson, David Chapfika said when his committee went around the country to gather people’s views on the Bill, the public suggested that illegal money changers must be busted.

“Members of the public said the Bill must incorporate provisions that will deal with the parallel money markets and illegal money changers on the streets to ensure that those caught are ruthlessly dealt with,” he said.

“People said the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) must be an autonomous and independent body outside the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in order for it to be efficient and make a significant impact to combat money laundering, financial terrorism and related crimes.”

There were also suggestions that the FIU must be well-funded, well-equipped and highly-computerised.

“The finance committee recommends that the Financial Intelligence Unit must be given powers to block or freeze suspicious transactions,” Chapfika said.

Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna said there is need for the FIU to investigate cases of ill-gotten wealth, where people build big houses and yet there is no disclosure of their source of wealth.

Zvishavane-Ngezi MP John Holder accused the government of adopting a lackadaisical attitude in dealing with illegal foreign currency dealers, saying these were fronting for top government officials.

“People in positions of authority are the ones actually funding money laundering through illegal money changers and that is why nothing is being done about them. As long as the RBZ does not put proper policies in place, this will continue until government is on auto pilot and these illegal money changers will control foreign currency and force government to acquire it from them,” he said.

Chinamasa said the FIU will be given operational independence so that they are not subject to day-to-day directions of the central bank.
He said the issue of illegal money changers was already dealt with in the Bank Use Promotions Act.

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6 Comments

  1. Money changers have existed as long as the history of mankind. They just need to be controlled. Jesus had to control them and chase them out of the temple at some point. However, completely removing them is mission impossible. They are not the problem here. Before the introduction of Bond notes and coins i.e. during USD no one even knew they existed. Address the source of the problem not the symptoms. Money changers are a symptom of a system malfunction. If the monetary system is right, most of them will leave the streets on their own. Simple economics says where two currencies co-exists in an economy one currency will chase the other. Those in the importing business will need forex in one way or the other, if they don’t get it from the bank they look for it elsewhere. That’s where money changers come in. It’s not like Money changers have robbed the bank or anyone. Depositors with real money are shunning the bank because what goes in the bank doesn’t come out the same. Our banks are functioning like a human being which consumes nice food, pizza, chicken etc, and it comes out as poop which is useless.

  2. A waste of resources, these people only took advantage of an opportunity that had risen within the economy. If cash was as available as it should and banks and beurau de change where doing their jobs, these people would quitely go away without any need for being chased. It is the economic environment that we created which has resulted in the birth of these people. We will be lying to ourselves if we think the promulgation of this law will get rid of money changers, even the RBZ and government are active players.

  3. Comment…gvt must introduce bureau de change which can offer black market rates ,this will chase them out of bsn bcz no one can change from bcz the rob ppl thru fake money.some ppl work in other countries they come with rands ,pula ,us dollars but gvt rate yakadhakwa ye 1 : 1 with bond note ,so ppl look money changers bcz they offer good rate ,so gvt must legalize banks to offer genuine parallel rates money will flow into the banks

  4. Comment…Heya, ndovimba vachasungwa, avo varikudaro. Nekuti vakasazo, zvorevava kuti. Sezvo pangori nefungidziro dzekuti…

  5. Hear,… hear….hear! More legislation justt to appear like we are busy hmmmm…! Busy bodies cmde minister. I suppose vana Chapfikwa and committee are preparing themselves to be directors of thes institutions!

  6. besides the bill will just be used to enrich the officers who will be enforcing it,…. soliciting bribes etc.
    No wonder why the problem of the general zimbabwean never end, this bill will open other loop holes and create more problems than it intends to control.
    vanhu vakubirwa akomana

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