Zimbabwe: Jail Term for Illegal Forex Dealers Gazetted

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U.S. dollar.
5 October 2019

Trading in any currency, which is not the Zimbabwe dollar, now attracts a fixed $6 000 fine and failure to pay the fine will result in the person involved being jailed.

The new rules, gazetted yesterday, empower the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to arrest and fine people and businesses that continue charging for their goods and services in any currency other than the Zimdollar.

Under the new regulations, the central bank can charge an extra fine of $100 per day for delays in payment of the $6 000 initial fine but when one defaults for more than 90 days, the person will be jailed.

This comes as Government amended the Exchange Control Act to include provisions of Exclusive Use of the Zimbabwe Dollar Regulations, associated civil penalty orders as well as the schedule for enforcement of the civil penalty orders.

Civil penalties for the use of the United States dollar (or any other foreign currency) for local transactions, which was banned earlier in June, was promulgated under Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019 last month.

The amendment, which was done through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures), amends Section 2 of the principal Act by insertion of paragraph d and Section 5.

The amendment, which was done under SI-213 of 2019, also effects offences and penalties that come with flouting the regulations.

In terms of the amendment to the Exchange Control Act, the RBZ has been empowered to issue civil penalty orders and categories thereof.

The Act now also lists the variation of specific penalties, as well as matters relating to the enforcement of the civil penalties.

According to SI-213 of 2019 Government has stipulated a $6 000 fine for anyone found pricing goods and services in foreign currency, with a view to stopping the price madness on the market where some traders continue to wilfully violate national regulations to price their goods and services in local currency.

According to the regulations, failure to pay the prescribed fine will attract an extra $100 daily, for each day in default.

The extra charge will run for 90 days before the accused is committed to civil imprisonment.

However, for crimes deemed more serious, defaulters will be fined a cumulative fee of $1 200 per day over 90 days. This is over and above the $6000 fixed fine in the event they fail to comply with the law.

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