RBZ Blocks Internal Transfers As Currency Traders Invade Banks

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has blocked multiple internal transfers after noticing a new trend indicating that illegal foreign currency dealers had clandestinely invaded the banking system to continue with their illicit trades.

In a directive dated June 4, 2020, the FIU acting director general, Oliver Chiperesa ordered banks to limit the number of internal transfers that can be process inside a working day.

“Each bank customer shall make no more than two transactions per day by way of internal transfer regardless of the values involved,” he said in his notice.

“There is no restriction on RTGS transfers but banks should exercise necessary due diligence.”

However, the directive said where a customer had a genuine need to conduct more than two internal transfers in a day by way of internal transfers, the customer shall obtain approval from bank management.

The directive also orders banks to submit daily returns to the FIU giving details of such transactions and the underlying business purpose.

Chiperesa said the measures have been put in place realising a notable increase in the abuse of the internal bank transfers facility for purposes of parallel market dealings.

“We have noted a trend where entities are using their bank accounts to buy foreign currency using a network of runners, some of whom have been advertising their services on social media. These illicit transactions manifest in the form of daily multiple payments from one account to beneficiaries who hold accounts in the same bank,” he said.

The FIU gave individual banks the green-light to implement any additional controls on internal and or inter-bank transfers as they see fit.

It also announced it was adopting strict enforcement measures against banks that are found to be complicit in allowing their clients to conduct illicit transactions.

The latest development is among a raft of measures taken by the FIU in a bid to choke foreign currency dealings.