At least 37 illegal foreign currency dealers who were arrested in Harare under Operation "Dzosai mari" on separate occasions over the past few days have appeared at the Harare Magistrate's Court, with 10 of them being convicted for the offences and forfeiting their money to the State.
The convicted will also do community service, while the remaining 27, who are still on trial, were granted bail ranging between $100 and $200 depending on the amount of money they were found in possession of.
They appeared on separate records before magistrates Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa and Mr Nyasha Vhitorini for contravening Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 (No.5), which criminalise the illegal trading in foreign currency.
The two magistrates said they convicted the illegal foreign currency dealers because they were sabotaging the economy by channelling huge sums of cash to unproductive sectors.
They also took note of the fact that while banks were dry, the illegal traders were very liquid.
Those who have since been convicted had their jail terms commuted to community service on condition of good behaviour.
Charity Mugoni (22) was sentenced to eight months in prison and four months were suspended for five years on condition she does not commit a similar offence within that period.
The remaining four months were set aside on condition she performs 140 hours of community service.
Mugoni had her cash that included R2 220, $405 bond notes and $150 United States dollars forfeited to the State.
Other illegal foreign currency dealers convicted included Shame Tsopotsa, Evelyne Muronzi, Blessing Chindondo, Martha Nyahunde, Jenniffer Chikwiramakomo, Precious Humba, Dominic Basira and Precious Mazivachimwe.
Among those who are still on trial is Tinashe Rondozai (34) who was found in possession of R129 900, US$4 565 and $1 517 bond notes stashed in his car.
Garikai Kunaka (32) was arrested and found with US$2 781, while Francis Dimingo (31) was found in possession of R16 650 and US$3 140.
Operation "Dzosai mari" is being conducted by the police together with other stakeholders.
About 170 illegal foreign currency dealers have so far been arrested countrywide as police intensify the campaign against currency trading which caused volatility in the prices of basic commodities.