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Zimbabwe suspends mobile money platforms to curb black market transactions

Christian Fernsby |
The Zimbabwean government on Friday announced the suspension of all monetary transactions on phone-based mobile money platforms as it seeks to deal with the foreign currency black market and perceived economic saboteurs.

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A statement by government spokesperson Nick Mangwana said the government had taken a series of measures to deal with malpractices, criminality and economic sabotage committed by people who pretended to be supporting the government, yet had other ideas.

"These measures include the suspension of all monetary transactions on phone-based mobile money platforms in order to facilitate intrusive investigations leading to the arrest and prosecution of offenders ... the measures will also include the suspension of all trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange," Mangwana said.

These measures aim to converge the current phantom rate of exchange into one genuine rate that is determined by market forces under the foreign currency auction system launched by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, he added.

Mangwana said operational modalities of the envisaged measures would be announced by the relevant monetary, regulatory and law enforcement authorities in the next few days.

"Government will concurrently ensure that prudent measures are also put in place to mitigate and prevent any collateral damage that these interventions may cause to the innocent transacting public who were using these platforms," he said.

Mangwana said the government was in possession of impeccable intelligence that the phone-based mobile money systems were conspiring, with the help of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, either deliberately or inadvertently, in illicit activities that were sabotaging the economy.

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