The Government of Zimbabwe through its central bank has gazetted a statutory instrument to ban people from posting foreign currency exchange rates on social media.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) said it had been monitoring social media platforms where foreign currency dealers have been advertising and promoting their illegal trade.
“The FIU is aware of WhatsApp groups that have mushroomed in the country for the spoofs purpose of promoting and facilitating illegal foreign currency trade”,
It said the move to make these advertisements illegal were meant to stem out speculation that fuels inflation.
FIU said it will work with the mobile phone service providers, the police and the banks to deal with the culprits
“The FIU, in collaboration with the police, banks, mobile money / mobile phone service providers and relevant regulatory agencies, has embarked on an exercise to identify and take action against individuals who create, advertise on or participate (actively or passively) in WhatsApp groups or other platforms for illegal foreign currency trading”
According to the FIU anyone found in violation of the new regulations will be barred from using mobile phone platforms, bank accounts will be frozen and all the money held in the person’s e-wallets will be frozen.
Prosecution for illegally trading foreign currency and advertising foreign currency exchange rates on will be laid.
“The FIU and relevant institutions will take the following immediate actions”,
“The mobile phone numbers used to join or advertise on the illegal groups will be shared with mobile phone operators and POTRAZ for barring; Other mobile phone numbers registered in the names of such persons will also be identified and barred”,
” Any mobile money wallets registered in the names of such persons will be frozen and the persons barred from accessing mobile money services with any operator”,
“Bank accounts owned by a person so identified will be frozen and the person will be blacklisted and barred from accessing banking services with any bank”,
“Identified persons will be investigated and prosecuted for illegally trading in or advertising illegal trading in foreign currency” said RBZ FIU.
The unit also asked for cooperation from the public to report all those that engage in advertising of foreign currency exchange rates.
“Members of the public are requested to report to the FIU any person, mobile phone number or bank account that continue to be used to engage in or advertise illegal foreign currency activities” they said.
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