ZACC probes Ecocash amid agent fraud

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) Monday announced it had opened investigations into Econet’s mobile money transfer subsidiary, Ecocash.

This follows an outcry by the public over the exorbitant fees charged by Ecocash agents when withdrawing money through the mobile wallet.

Ecocash agents now sell hard cash at premiums as high as 50% and 60% from those seeking to convert their Ecocash balances into cash.

While the commission goes to Ecocash, the agents pocket the rest.

However, the anti-graft body, in a series of posts on its official Twitter page, said investigations were underway to ascertain the cause of the problem which it believes was being supported by the company’s porous systems.

“We are concerned about the volumes of isolated reports we have received in connection @EcoCashZW agents manipulating the cash ecosystem to their unfair advantage by selling cash & at prohibiting rates. We are aware that this practice is enabled & supported at a systematic level.

“An investigation has been opened which must determine and charge the real perpetrators behind this rot. We hope that @econetzimbabwe and @ReserveBankZIM will also look into this seriously to bring an urgent and lasting solution.

“We believe that in order to effectively fight corruption, all avenues that promote corruption regardless of size must be shut with urgency and we look forward to work with all stakeholders in such scenarios to actively close these pilferage opportunities.”

While Ecocash has called on its clients to report agents who were selling cash, the company has done little to nothing to end the rot.

Of the 26 000 agents recorded in 2016 to date, over a 1000 have had their lines blocked for illegally taking money from the transacting public.

As the economic situation worsens, cash shortages are heightening as well leaving citizens with no option but to turn to Ecocash.

Long queues of desperate depositors outside banking halls are now a common sight with many often queuing for amounts as little as $50.