By Alois Vinga
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has threatened to freeze bank accounts belonging to individuals and corporates that continue to cause market distortions through illegal foreign currency deals.
The central bank said via its official twitter handle Friday that the country was enjoying relative stability in terms of its volatile exchange rate regime but this was being disturbed by dealers.
“It has come to the attention of the bank that there are some exchange rate manipulators that are exerting pressure on the forex market with the intention of destabilising the stability that the country has been experiencing over the past four months.
“Such malpractice is not warranted as money supply has remained under control for the past five months. The matter has been escalated to the Financial Intelligence Unit that is proceeding to investigate and freeze the accounts of those upsetting the market,” RBZ said.
The reaction comes in a week that saw the US dollar shoot up from a parallel market rate of Z$21 to $26.
However, the central bank has made similar pronouncements before but this has not yielded any intended outcomes amid claims those at the forefront of exchange control violations were parties linked to the ruling Zanu PF party.
In September last year, the RBZ said it was ordering a freeze on the accounts of Bill Height Investments, Landela Investments, Rimosa Trading, Fossil Agro and Traverze Travel.
Zanu PF MP, Justice Mayor Wadyajena identified three of the companies – Landela Investments, Rimosa Trading and Fossil Agro – as being owned by controversial petroleum tycoon, Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
Tagwirei, an ally to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, has been lavishing vehicles and other expensive gifts on the VP.
Government has in turn, returned the favour through lucrative tenders under its controversial Command Agriculture programme that has bled billions from the economy through opaque deals.
Basing on apparent lack of will by authorities to weed out the vice, market watchers have fired at the central bank for fuelling parallel market exchange rates.