RBZ freezes over 100 bank accounts on alleged illicit transactions

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Friday directed all banks in the country to freeze over one hundred bank accounts linked to either Ecocash and One Money agents suspected of involvement in illicit foreign currency transactions or money laundering.

The freezing was with immediate effect.

Prominent among targeted bank accounts are those belonging to Bellevue butchery and Koala Park Abattoir and butchery and MC Meats.

Also, among bank accounts blacklisted are those of car sales, microfinance institutions and bureaux de change.

“You are directed to identify accounts of all the listed persons, entities that are linked either to Ecocash or One Money (i.e accounts that allow customers to move funds between the bank and the mobile money wallet and or vice versa to immediately freeze such accounts,” said Oliver Chiperesa, RBZ acting director general financial intelligence unit.

“You are also required by close of business on the 3rd of May, KYC information in respect of each customer, including (a) details of the accounts frozen including balances, (b) business address of the entities, (c) names of all directors, (d) names and contact details of the MD/CEO, (e) list of all shareholders, (f) list of the Ultimate Beneficial Owners and (g) the entity’s nature of business and source of funds.

“It is critical that the freezing be effected immediately as any delay can result in funds being moved from the accounts before freezing is effected.”

The freezing of the said bank accounts comes days after RBZ suspended the trading licences of two bureau de change amid indications that there were involved in parallel market activities.

The two, Shons Financial Services and Superdeal Enterprises (trading as Kwik Forex), according to RBZ, carried out several off book foreign currency purchases and sales which they did not declare in periodic regulatory returns.