Government has handed a prison sentence to a trader selling foreign currency outside the official exchange rate, marking the advent of the crackdown on a black market it says destabilises the country’s currency.
This comes after promulgation of new laws prescribing that unlicensed foreign currency traders face up to 10 years in jail if convicted and loss of their money and assets.
Police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba said in a statement yesterday one dealer has been jailed for eight months while another one was sentenced to pay a fine of $1 000.
“They were charged and convicted for contravening section 5(1) (a) (11) of the Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (Number 5), Statutory instrument 122A, which criminalise illegal dealing in foreign currency.
“Nicky Masikati was sentenced to pay a fine of $1 000 while Oscar Sixpence was sentenced to eight months imprisonment,” Charamba said in the statement.
She warned the public to desist from engaging in illegal foreign currency deal or risk jail.
“Police are warning members of the public to desist from engaging in such nefarious activities as they risk being arrested and jailed,” she said.
More than 170 dealers are reported to have been arrested to date.
The illegal dealers were accused of triggering the disparity between the bond note and US dollar.