RBZ freezes Chinese firm accounts

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THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday froze bank accounts of a Chinese firm, China Nanchang, for allegedly injecting millions of dollars into the parallel market, resulting in the soaring of exchange rates.
The country has in the past few days recorded high black market exchange rates, forcing the RBZ to engage the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to probe the matter, an exercise which fingered the Chinese firm.
The greenback was yesterday trading for $23 on the black market.
This comes as demand for United States dollars is on the rise with prices of several goods and services being pegged in the greenback.
Several firms are also clamouring for the US dollar, shortage of which has hampered operations.
Allegations are that currency manipulators are using their bank accounts and the mobile money platform to illegally transact, pumping millions into the black market, exerting pressure on the exchange rate in the process.
In a statement, RBZ governor John Mangudya said they were putting the matter under serious consideration.
“The Bank escalated the matter to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for investigation and the FIU has so far identified one entity (China Nanchang), which has used its bank account to inject millions of dollars into the parallel market in the last few days.
“FIU has ordered the freezing of the identified account pending further analysis and is undertaking ongoing surveillance to identify more culprits involved in the parallel market transactions, particularly on the EcoCash platform,” RBZ said.
RBZ said they are focused on maintaining stability on the exchange rate and will apply the law in dealing with those found in breach.
The country has enjoyed some form of stability in the last four months which was disturbed in the last few days, resulting in rates rising.
“The Bank will work closely with the FIU to identify and take appropriate action, in terms of the law, against any culprits involved in illicit foreign currency activities and manipulation of the foreign exchange rates,” RBZ said.
Among the goods and services charged in US dollars are fuel, rentals, basic commodities and this has led people into the parallel market.

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