17 October 2018

Zimbabwe: ED Urged to Cut RBZ's Role in Illegal Forex Trade

Photo: The Herald
A forex trader counts U.S. dollars.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa risks plunging the country into civil strife and anarchy if he failed to stop the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) from fuelling illegal foreign currency trade on the streets, a regional anti-graft board has said.

In a report, the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA) highlighted the alleged involvement of the central bank, local banks, police and politically connected individuals in being the main drivers of illegal foreign currency trading and other illicit financial activities in the country.

"Who shall then guard the guard when the name such as RBZ itself is implicated in buying United States dollars from the black market?

"This underscores the urgent need for President Mnangagwa to quickly move in and restore order in the country lest we experience for the second time, the pain equal to what we experienced in 2008," ACTSA director Obert Chinhamo said.

Chinhamo said the President "must take appropriate action since the activities pose a security risk and may plunge the country into civil strife and mayhem."

The anti-graft boss said after meeting with senior police officers over the issue, he was told that "the country should not expect the ZRP to arrest any person implicated in illegal dealings since there is no law in place that can be used to arrest them.

"This legal gap casts the country into serious problems, President Mnangagwa and his team as well as lawmakers should urgently do something about this gap since this area is a security risk," he said.

The anti-graft body also called on the executive and the legislature to come up with a law to deal with illegal currency trading and related financial activities in Zimbabwe.

This comes after black market US dollar rates keep rising, at the same time fuelling the current unrest in the formal market with shop owners raising their prices in attempts to match the value of the currency.

Last week, the US dollar rate surged to an unprecedented 500 percent, with a 100 note fetching $500 Zimbabwean dollars on the black market.

The RBZ as denied any involvement in illegal forex trade while President Emmerson Mngangagwa said weekend that foreign currency dealers were a security threat.

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