RBZ crackdown nets 21 black market kingpins

BY SHAME MAKOSHORI

A PROBE into forex auction system violations has netted 21 firms that have been dabbling in parallel market activities or abetting back stage dealings in the past month, the central bank said yesterday, indicating that several companies had been blacklisted.

However, the bank did not name the under fire firms.

Central bank chief John Mangudya said investigations by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) continue to expose serious delinquency at the forex auction system since the first 18 “outliers” were named on June 15.

“The bank wishes to inform the public of the following corrective and punitive actions that have since been taken against some entities for abuse of the foreign exchange auction system, manipulation of the exchange rate and non-compliance with exchange control rules and regulations,” Mangudya said in a statement.

“In addition to the 18 entities named in the Press statement on June 15, 2021, 21 more been investigated by the bank’s FIU and found guilty of various breaches that include transfer pricing, use of fraudulent import documentation, failure to bank cash and conducting illegal foreign exchange transactions. Of the total of 39 entities, 27 have been fined to date and 12 issued with written warnings for aiding or abetting flouting of exchange control rules and regulations. The punitive measures include prohibition from participating in the foreign exchange auctions until the full payment of the fines imposed or permanent blacklisting from participating in the foreign exchange auctions, depending on the seriousness of the breach,” he said.

In June, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe escalated its campaign to punish “outliers”, including listed milling giant National Foods, which it said were “abusing” foreign currency acquired through the auction system.

The central bank named 18 companies which allegedly abused the foreign currency auction system under the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 127 of 2021.

SI 127 of 2021 prohibits business operators from charging above the official exchange rate and empowers authorities to punish those that refuse to accept the Zimbabwe dollar for local transactions.

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