JUST IN: Police pounce on money changers, retrieve 11 POS machines


Undercover police officers raided a popular black market money changing hotspot in Bulawayo yesterday, arresting 6 illegal foreign currency dealers and seizing 11 Point of Sale machines that they were using for their illicit transactions.

According to police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube, investigations revealed the POS machines were issued to the suspects by local banks. Their use of sophisticated banking technology had allowed the illegal money changers to operate in the open, blocking pavements and running an “open illegal banking system”.

Insp Ncube said POS machines had fueled the rapid rise of black market exchange rates in Zimbabwe, and warned the public against dealing with illegal money changers. He also cited security threats, with robbers potentially targeting the “open” street level money markets.

The bust has sent shockwaves through Bulawayo’s foreign currency underworld. Police say they will continue operations to “safeguard the lives and incomes of innocent people.” One of the suspects brandished a POS machine at customers on a busy street corner near a popular Chicken Inn restaurant – a brazen example of the illegal market’s spread.

Illegal money changing, known locally as “osiphatheleni”, has become big business in Zimbabwe in the midst of economic turmoil and a forex crisis. But now undercover police raids using technology of their own are fighting back, targeting the POS machines that had allowed the black market to boom – leaving illegal money changers scrambling to evade the “long arm of the law.”

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