photo credit: Quartz

Zimbabwe Central Bank Freezes Accounts Over Illegal Foreign Transfers

30 bank accounts has been frozen by the Central Bank Of Zimbabwe for illegally exchanging foreign currency through mobile phones and social networks, according to an official statement on Tuesday.

The apex bank said it had identified 30 people “abusing mobile telecommunication services and other social media platforms” for “illegal foreign exchange transactions and money laundering”.

The reserve bank also issued a 2-year banking ban on the account holders as well as a possible ban by telephone operators.

The Zimbabwean government has been trying to promote the local currency since it was temporarily abandoned in 2009 in favor of the US dollar due to hyperinflation.

Faced with a lack of liquidity, the country printed new notes in 2016.

The local currency has continued to lose value and foreign currency is traded on the black market at cheap rates.

The currency which now trades at 85.82 to the U.S. dollar would hopefully gain more value as the reserve bank plans on using more than half of the $961 million allocated by the International Monetary Fund in the form of special drawing rights to support the currency.

The IMF injected a record $650 billion of reserve assets to build confidence and foster resilience and stability in the global economy in the wake of the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Zimbabwe was a major benefactor of the aid.

“For the support of the currency we want to hold back about $500 million,” Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s finance minister, said in an interview on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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