About 170 illegal black market forex dealers are reported to have been arrested countrywide following an intense campaign by the police against currency trading which has caused the dramatic price hikes of basic commodities and other products in Zimbabwe.
Illegal foreign currency trading has been attributed to the market depreciation of Bond notes and RTGS balances compared to the US dollar, causing hikes in the prices of almost every product in the country and shortages of products.
National Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests and said they were conducting the operation together with other ‘relevant stakeholders.’
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police , having noted that activities by illegal foreign currency dealers were posing a serious security and economic threat to the country, embarked on a countrywide operation meant to enforce Statutory Instrument 122A of 2017, Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 (No.5), which criminalises the illegal trading in foreign currency,” he said.
“Cumulatively, as from October 18, 2018, a total of 107 arrests have been made for dealing in foreign currency and 58 for blocking pavements countrywide.”
Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said the operation will be in full swing until there was sanity and order in all towns and cities, hence members of the public, business entities, corporates and individuals are encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement agents in order to ensure that law and order is maintained throughout the operation.
“Police are warning members of the public to desist from illegally dealing in foreign currency as the long arm of the law will always catch up with them,” he said.
The forex dealer’s arrests come after President Mnangagwa said he would invoke the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to introduce tough regulations to bring currency manipulators to book last weekend. These regulations will remain in force for a statutory period of six months, during which a Bill will have to be processed for consideration by the legislators.
In his weekly column in The Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said he has asked his trusted legal advisors to come up with comprehensive laws to curb loopholes that allowed these illegal money changers to operate.
The new law will also be in line with international based practices, where suspicious transactions will be automatically flagged and investigated.