John Tanyanyiwa Staff Reporter
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has frozen accounts belonging to traders for various breaches.
The FIU advised the nation in a press statement.
“The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has of late been receiving an increasing number of reports of some traders engaging in illegal business practices in breach of the Bank Use Promotion Act [Chapter 24:24] and the Exchange Control Act [Chapter 22:05]”, read the statement.
The traders are accused of among other things, failure to bank business cash receipts and refusal to allow customers to pay for goods or services in local currency.
They are also converting prices using illegal and punitive exchange rates to discourage customers from paying in local currency which is illegal.
In other instances, the traders charge higher US dollar prices for customers paying using transfers from foreign currency accounts (FCAs).
The practices according to the laws of the land are criminal and can be prosecuted at the courts of law.
The FIU advised that they are in the process of bringing to book these wayward traders.
“The FIU has already started identifying and bringing to book traders committing these violations”, read the statement.
Bank accounts of four major distributors namely Saxin Trading, Simrac Enterprises, Brainscope Investments and Munella Enterprises were frozen with effect from the 24th of May 2023. The four companies have been accused of diverting goods to the black market while refusing to sell to established retailers who sell and pay for the goods in local currency.
According to the FIU the traders have been transacting exclusively in foreign currency but have not been banking the proceeds.
Penalties await the traders and the revenue collector the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has been directed to investigate suspected tax evasion cases.
The unit urged members of the public to report any illegal business operations. The unit has also increased surveillance operations and taken punitive action against offenders.
The country has witnessed unwarranted price increases and a spike in the exchange rate. The move by the FIU will help root out the scourge and ensure smooth business transactions are carried out.