A crackdown against foreign currency dealers will be rolled out in a few days and is expected to leave top executives in banks, companies and State institutions behind bars, Business Times has learnt.
A list of the culprits is being kept a closely guarded secret ahead of the arrests.
Corporates which have been abusing their share of foreign currency retained on exports will also be dragged before the courts.
Electronic payments will be scrutinised closely by experts to trace all bad non-productive money being used for illegal foreign currency trade, to source.
Agents in the anti-corruption and various law enforcement units are closely watching a list of individuals whose charges are now believed to have been compiled and now awaiting execution.
“You will be shocked because this includes some top officials who have been charged with responsibilities in our system,” said a close source to the investigations without being drawn to divulge the names and designations of the culprits.
The move, said the source, was expected to go a long way towards abuse of foreign currency and externalisation.
A research by Government revealed that forex dealers on the streets are just but a drop in the ocean, getting supplies from big chefs in key Government institutions and corporates.
“These are just small fish and they are not material. The real foreign currency shenanigans are happening in air-conditioned offices and that is where we are going to in order to stop this,” added the source.
Currently, he said, businesses with access to foreign currency were selling hard cash on the black market to fund their expenses including salaries effectively increasing their profits.
“The businesses retail 70 percent of their foreign currency which they have been abusing. No one cares about that 70 percent, instead all eyes are on the 30 percent at the RBZ which they queue for,” the source said.
“We have to deal with corruption; there is no corruption that happens where there is no witness. Big fish will be caught in the next few days. Senior officials participating in the black market will go down. Don’t worry about these petty currency traders at Eastgate, they are just free injectors. Real transaction in currency or commoditisation of currency is happening in air-conditioned offices, bankers are involved and corporates involved. That’s where the story is,” added the source.
In a op-ed carried by state media today, President Mnangagwa said; “A great threat to our bid to stimulate productive activity in the economy comes by way of non-productive, speculative activities operating below the radar but involving millions in precious foreign currency and bond notes.
“These nefarious activities thrive on different electronic platforms. New measures will be pursued to stop such malpractices.
Corporates with hard cash and individuals, now, prefer a situation where the local dollar value continues tumbling such that they use less hard cash to fulfill their legal obligations in bond notes or RTGS.
The source said indications were that there was complicity on the part of responsible authorities to deal with illegal foreign currency dealers.
“If this economy felt black market is a cost why do we continue having it? We are moving figures not hard cash so these figures are moved electronically. As a result we have a mechanism to trace bad non-productive money to source which means there is complicity on the part of banks and telephone networks.”
– Business Times