Zimbabwe: Act Now Against Money Changers

Photo: Pixabay
U.S. dollar.
21 November 2019
opinion

On November 15, 2019, The Herald published a story which informed the nation that "the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is investigating CBZ and Ecobank for allegedly illegally releasing $58 180 of the new notes and bond coins to two clients".

Apart from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, who during a recent post-Budget breakfast meeting praised the RBZ for its swift action on the two banks, nothing more is known on this matter of public interest.

Members of the public who are being subjected to daylight robbery of their meagre finances by money changers remain curious to know who authorised the large withdrawals from the two banks when the law states that it is $300 cash per account holder per week.

The public is keen to see the culprits serving long prison terms for breaking the law and engaging in outright corruption in violation of the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act.

Albert Einstein stated: "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."

What Einstein is saying is that the illegal financial and minerals transactions in the country, despite their negative effects on the economy and well-being of the citizens, do not in themselves have a capacity to derail the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP)and Vision 2030.

The paramount threat to Zimbabwe achieving the upper-middle income status by 2030 arises from inaction whether by commission or omission of the arms of Government which have the backing of the law to effectively end or at least put under control the growing corruption cancer.

The illegal financial dealings that are proliferating in Zimbabwe are stifling the economy, scaring away investors, impoverishing the population, and generating unnecessary criticism of the Government.

While the citation of CBZ and Ecobank as the sources of the large sums of money drawn by individuals outside the parameters of the regulations is probably the tip of an iceberg, comfort is in the fact that at least the cat is out of the bag!

Money changers are there right in front of all to see at shopping centres in their many cars, Mbare Musika, along known streets and SMEs locations.

The legitimate questions the citizens ask are, when will the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the RBZ, the police, and the Judiciary act decisively on this valuable lead and take concrete steps to end the menaces of illegal financial, minerals transactions -- especially gold and the illegal trade in United States dollars -- rampant in industry?

What law are the money changers basing on to trade the large bundles of local notes and coins openly spread out on tables and stashed in vehicles the money changers use?

On what basis do these money changers peg premiums of over 50 percent of the amount transacted; and, what is the legal instrument they are using for working with a three-tier goods and services pricing regime?

Karl Kraus wrote: "Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual; the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country."

Financial irregularities prevailing in the country are a form of corruption and economic terrorism at its vilest perpetrated by some banks, their agents and other saboteurs in industry are the number one enemy of development.

It is, therefore, prudent for Zimbabweans to unite in the fight against the vice.

Government and all well-meaning citizens together can leverage on the strength of the Zimbabwe dollar which can be measured by its scarcity to make Vision 2030 a reality through concerted efforts to stop all forms of financial malpractices.

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